Royal Mail has reportedly made a key concession to postal workers by allowing them to cut back on unaddressed mail, insisting they only have to deliver items to households that are already receiving letters or parcels.
Earlier this week, the Communications Workers Union, which represents 110,000 posties, demanded the immediate suspension of all unaddressed mail deliveries and the slashing of daily deliveries of standard letters and parcels to three times a week.
It argued that posties should only be used to help the country during the Covid-19 crisis, including checking on the elderly and vulnerable, and collecting and delivering food parcels, as well as medical prescriptions and equipment.
The news comes after posties at three Scottish sorting offices walked out over serious health and safety issues.
One Alloa-based worker told the Daily Record: “We’re returning to work under duress. The management are doing their best to keep things safe and we’ll see how it holds up. We still believe that delivering even one piece of junk mail is an unnecessary risk not only to ourselves but to the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
In a statement, the CWU said the measures did not go far enough. It added: “The response from the chief executive and from the senior management team is totally unacceptable. We will now take these matters up directly with the Government, the TUC and our legal representatives. The union’s executive will meet to discuss further actions.”
Royal Mail responded by insisting that door to door mailings were an important way of paying for the Universal Service and supporting the delivery of all mail.
A spokesperson added: “Door to door mailings provide a very valuable service to small businesses and companies of all kinds as they seek to provide their goods and services. Many small businesses now need this support more than ever as they struggle to stay afloat in the midst of the lockdown.
“This means they can safeguard local jobs as well as the local economy. In the lockdown, many families are increasingly keen to access local services and food companies. The Government is also delivering important public messages about coronavirus via door-to-door mailings.
“It is expensive to maintain as the number of letters we handle continues to decline every year. We are currently doing this in difficult circumstances.”
UPDATE: In response to this story, Letterbox Consultancy managing director Graham Dodd wrote on LinkedIn: “This claim about Royal Mail procedures is fake news. Their actions are consistent with the communication sent to resellers such as ourselves on Monday of this week. All households WILL be covered on EVERY walk whether they have addressed mail or not, unless they have opted out.”
Meanwhile, Eight Days a Week Print Solutions managing director Lance Hill added: “In other words it’s BAU for addressed and unaddressed mail. Not really a story, other than the usual CWU attempts at disrupting the postal service at a time when we should all be on the same side.”
In a statement, Royal Mail was slightly less clear. It said: “We have changed our processes. We will now deliver unaddressed, door to door advertising mailings to customers who are receiving addressed letters or parcels at the same time, wherever practically possible.”
It did not confirm or deny whether households would be missed out if they had no “regular” mail on that day, meaning brand owners are none the wiser.
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