Royal Mail bosses have been accused of telling staff to hold back letters and Christmas cards in favour of parcels.
Members of the Communication Workers Union have said managers told workers to "suspend delivery of letters this week". A letter from CWU assistant secretary Mark Baulch says staff were told to "only focus on the delivery of parcels, tracked items and special delivery".
It means that Christmas cards being sent to family and friends could be heavily delayed. It comes as 115,000 postal workers initiate a 48-hour strike today which is expected to halt deliveries on Christmas Eve and create a severe backlog in sorting offices, the Mirror reports.
Read more: 'Businesses will be going under because of this': The cost of the Royal Mail strike
ave Ward, general secretary of the CWU, said: “In one move Royal Mail has shown exactly why our members are striking. We want to save daily deliveries and they want to end them.
"Postal workers are striking not only to save their jobs but the service as well.”
Royal Mail has said it "does not operate a policy of prioritising parcels". However, it added: "At particularly busy times, such as in the recovery days after a strike, we may occasionally at a local level clear parcels to free up space and address health and safety concerns so that we can keep all mail, including letters, moving efficiently.”
The claims emerged as a letter to staff from Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson and eight senior managers said: “We are now fighting for the life of this business.”
In it, Mr Thompson highlighted that politicians and regulator Ofcom would not come to the aid of the company in the face of competition from rival couriers.
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