A postal worker at the Farnham sorting office has admitted that Royal Mail deliveries are being made only every other day because of staffing shortages.
The revelation came after an anonymous customer complained that several first-class letters had not arrived on time and that Royal Mail deliveries were arriving in bulk, indicating a backlog.
Responding, the postal worker told the Herald that the service was “set up to fail on purpose” and Royal Mail was prioritising tracked parcels over mail as they “make more money from them”.
They added there had been no new recruits at the Farnham sorting office in over a year, and the workforce had decreased by 10 per cent because of long-term sicknesses and mental health issues.
Workloads had increased, mental health “is at an all time low” and “unachievable revisions” to routes had made the situation worse, they said.
As a result, “mail is only going out every other day as it is impossible to complete the entire given route in a normal working day”.
The postal worker also claimed agency staff were being employed by the Royal Mail to address the backlog, which they said has resulted in incorrectly delivered mail as “they don’t have the familiarity a regular postie has with the customer and route”.
They added some agency staff are also guilty of “doorstepping” – leaving parcels on doorsteps – which for full-time workers is a “sackable offence”. Many parcels are going missing as a result.
The anonymous customer, who did not want their name or address published for fear of getting their postie in trouble, said Royal Mail’s failure to provide daily deliveries was wrong for several reasons, including exposing workers to risk and not providing customers with the service they were due.
They said: “Customers are paying significant amounts for all deliveries with an understanding of timeframes but especially tracked packages that can arrive days late. That is surely a breach of contract?”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said that the number of addresses the company delivers to nationally had grown by over 2 million in the last 10 years, and “many postmen and women’s routes have not been revised in this time”.
“This can mean that some routes can be an hour or two longer than others, for example where new housing developments have been built,” the spokesman added.
The Royal Mail’s latest quarterly results also show a 25 per cent decline in the volume of letters sent since before the pandemic, during which time the number of parcels has risen.
“We have therefore revised routes throughout the country to ensure they are fairer and reflect the growth in addresses and parcel deliveries,” the spokesman continued.
“We have also been experiencing a higher than average level of sickness absence, and have a number of vacancies locally.
“We are in the process of recruiting for those vacancies, and have recruited some temporary staff, and are confident that our service has improved accordingly in recent weeks.”