Postal workers accuse Royal Mail of misleading the public after denying it prioritises lucrative parcels over letters



Postal workers have accused the Royal Mail of misleading the public after the company denied claims it is prioritising lucrative parcels over letters.

A senior Royal Mail executive this week rejected suggestions that parcels are being given preference after the Daily Mail published extraordinary claims from posties that households are missing out on important letters in favour of trivial packages.

Hard-working postmen have now hit back at the Royal Mail’s denials – and this newspaper has heard a recording of a depot manager allegedly telling a postie to ‘definitely’ prioritise parcels over letters.

‘It’s just straight-up lies,’ said the south-east postman, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of losing his job.

‘I’m sick of it. I just want to get these letters out to all of these people that are suffering over Christmas, but we’ve been told not to.’

A senior Royal Mail executive this week rejected suggestions that parcels are being given preference after the Daily Mail published extraordinary claims from posties that households are missing out on important letters in favour of trivial packages
Hard-working postmen have now hit back at the Royal Mail¿s denials ¿ and this newspaper has heard a recording of a depot manager allegedly telling a postie to ¿definitely¿ prioritise parcels over letters

On Monday Nick Landon, chief commercial officer for Royal Mail, denied that parcels are being given priority, telling the BBC: ‘Absolutely I can say, I sit on the board, we are not prioritising parcels over letters.

‘Clearly in terms of investment, letters are decreasing worldwide every year. Parcels are increasing really rapidly, so a big focus on making sure we can cope with that growth in parcels we have across the network,’ he said.

Mr Landon made the comments while standing in a large Royal Mail hub dedicated to parcels.

One postman pointed out: ‘He wouldn’t go to a mail centre [for an interview] because it would be stuffed to the rafters, it would be messy and dirty.’ Under the Universal Service Obligation, the Royal Mail is legally required to deliver letters to every address in the UK, six days a week, and parcels five days a week.

But postal workers say they have been struggling to fulfil the legal obligation for months as depot managers are more concerned with delivering tracked parcels quickly, meaning letters are sacrificed.

In a statement last night, Royal Mail said: ‘We will always do our utmost to ensure both letters and parcels are delivered on time.

‘We have been clear that at busy times such as Christmas it may be logistically necessary to clear parcels first to avoid network issues.’

A government spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the hardships that postmasters and their families have had to endure and are seeking to right the wrongs of the past.

‘To date over £130 million has been paid in compensation and we are introducing new legislation to ensure all those affected to the IT scandal do not miss out.

‘We want the criminal appeals system to be as efficient and effective as possible which is why we’ve asked the Law Commission to examine whether reforms are needed. We look forward to their findings once the review has concluded.’

Scandal convictions ‘must be quashed’

BY PIRIYANGA THIRUNIMALAN

All Post Office staff accused of theft and false accounting in the Horizon scandal should have their convictions overturned, a board has advised.

The scandal, which took place between 2000 and 2014, saw hundreds of managers wrongly accused of taking money from their sites due to a faulty software called Horizon.

Many of those wrongfully accused were left financially devastated, with some even going to prison. An independent advisory group overseeing compensation related to the fiasco said those affected – thought to be more than 900 individuals – should have their convictions quashed.

The Mail has led a ten-year battle for justice for the postmasters, and in a victory for the campaign, the Government announced in September that those who had their wrongful convictions overturned would be offered £600,000 each in compensation.

The Horizon Compensation Advisory Board said it is ‘worth acquitting a few guilty people’ for justice for the majority.

In a letter to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, the board’s chair Chris Hodges warned that until all convictions were quashed, ‘we cannot put the scandal behind us’. The Ministry of Justice has said it will respond in due course.

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