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Wales Online
Wales Online
Nathan Russell

MP accuses Royal Mail of prioritising parcels over letters

An MP has accused Royal Mail of prioritising the delivery of parcels rather than letters, the BBC reports. Business Committee Chair and Bristol North West Member of Parliament Darren Jones has claimed a whistleblower has sent a poster to him that was displayed in a post office encouraging workers to ensure parcels were delivered over letters.

Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson was shown it by Jones while giving evidence to the committee, and said he knew about the sign but insisted it was "absolutely not our policy".

The heading of the poster reads: "The future is parcels. The future is here,", with another slogan of: "Failing parcels=Failing our customers" featuring at the bottom.

While showing it to Mr Thompson, the MP said "you are unilaterally only delivering on 50% of the USO (Universal Service Obligation)" and enquired if the prioritising parcels was the Royal Mail's policy.

Royal Mail is legally required to deliver letters to every UK address, six days a week, at a uniform price under Universal Service Obligation. Parcels, meanwhile, receive the same regulations for five days a week.

Mr Thompson said the poster's message was not company policy, claiming it was a "local action" that had been "dealt with". The MP did not seem satisfied with this answers, saying: "I'd remind you Mr Thompson that misleading Parliament is not something that we appreciate here on the committee," before asking the that chief executive "prove" this was not Royal Mail policy by writing to the committee.

But reports from postal workers do not appear supportive of Mr Thompson's claim, with David Bharrat, a branch secretary for the Communication Workers Union, saying the poster was displayed in a delivery office in the Harrow and District Area. He said the sign was on show in August 2022, and said to the BBC: "We feel depressed. We're leaving mail behind and that's not what we're about, postmen regard all mail as important."

Mr Bharrat added that the only way the poster would have ended up on display would be at the permission of a senior manager: "Local managers do not do anything without getting advice from senior management."

A member of the select committee, Ruth Edwards, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, said earlier in the meeting that she had been contacted by postal workers country-wide saying they had been told to prioritise the delivery of parcels. Mr Thompson, however, claimed neither letters or parcels had priority: "We've been very, very clear that there is no difference between the two. We've written to our teams on a regular basis, I remember in my first year I wrote to every postal worker reminding them of the importance of letters."

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