Union anger as Royal Mail blames striking workers after Sunderland is ranked 'among the UK's worst' for mail delivery times
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has hit back at Royal Mail’s criticism of ‘highly damaging’ strikes, after Sunderland was named among the country’s worst areas for delivery times.
Royal Mail workers are in a bitter dispute with bosses over pay and conditions.
The company has apologised to customers, after revealing that only 54% of first class mail was delivered the next working day in the quarter to December 4, 2022.
Three-quarters of first class mail was delivered within two days, 79% of second class mail was delivered within three working days.
The target is 93% for first class; 98.5% target for second class. None of the 118 postcode areas achieved its performance target over the period, despite aiming to reach them in “91.5 areas”.
Sunderland was among the worst-performing areas, with delivery performance well below 50%, as were Brighton, Perth and south London.
Grant McPherson, the group’s chief operating officer, said: “We are committed to improving our performance and accelerating Royal Mail’s transformation in order to restore service levels while meeting the changing requirements of our customers.
“We’re sorry to any customers who may have been impacted by service levels during this period, which are much lower than we would want as a result of CWU’s ongoing strike action.”
The CWU had a series of strikes in the months before Christmas, leading to thousands of UK postal workers walking out. An overwhelming majority of workers, 95.7%, voted for more action in another ballot last week, although no dates have yet been set.
Chief executive Simon Thompson admitted this week that Royal Mail had failed to meet this obligation recently and needs to do better.
He was hauled before a Commons select committee on February 22. Jason Llewelyn, CWU North East Central branch secretary described Mr Thompson’s performance as “an absolute car crash.”
Mr Llewelyn says Royal Mail’s “failure to recruit” is at the heart of the matter, along with the priority given to tracked mail over non-tracked.
He added: “When you have a choice between delivering parcels that you can track and things you don’t track, it’s to the benefit of management, because that’s how they get their bonus, to make sure the tracked items are delivered.
“Compounding that is the fact that they’ve not recruited and, due to industrial action, brought agency people in.”