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Package Delays - Don't Blame the Postmen - MP

December 24th 2007


The public should not blame the postman if mail-order packages are not delivered in time for Christmas.

That's the Christmas Eve message from North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale.

Speaking in his constituency this (Monday) morning the MP has said:

"Those many Members of Parliament who, like myself, have visited their Royal Mail sorting offices during the run-up to Christmas will have been only too aware of the mountain of packages, many generated by on-line shopping, awaiting delivery and of the volume of sacks of mail that too few postmen are being required to deliver in too short a time.

Some of the blame for any delay must lie directly with senior executives (Allan) Leighton and (Adam) Crozier who have imposed later start times and cost-cutting measures upon the work force.

But we also need to recognise that the much-vaunted service offered by companies such as TNT and UKM is in fact merely creaming off the prime business while leaving Royal Mail to pick up the dirty work of universal service.

Most people do not appreciate that only a relatively small percentage of the work collected and processed by private companies is in fact delivered by them to its  end destination. The rest is passed to Royal Mail under cut-price contracts and RM is then required to finish the job - so it's not surprising that they are swamped at exceptional peak times.

Royal Mail cannot be expected to suddenly turn on a supply of trained and skilled postmen if the work is being taken away from them during the rest of the year.  It's time that the shareholder - the Government - and senior management woke up to the fact that they cannot expect Royal Mail to work under pricing formulae that deny competition, provide a universal service and survive.

Either we want to preserve what has been one of the finest postal services in the World or we do not - but once it is gone we shall not be able to re-create it.  Perhaps a new Government and a new Chairman and Chief Executive are needed to rescue the company before it is too late" 

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