Royal Mail warns of Christmas delays caused by exceptional demand during COVID restrictions

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
Embargoed to 0001 Monday December 3. A Royal Mail employee at work at a dedicated Christmas parcel sorting centre in at a Royal Mail depot in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Royal Mail has said some parcels have been delayed because of higher demand and coronavirus measures. (PA)

Some parcel deliveries have been taking longer to arrive because of exceptional demand and coronavirus restrictions, Royal Mail has admitted.

Social media users have reported unusually lengthy delays to items they were expecting, while delivery workers have pointed out online that they are dealing with high workloads.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said on Thursday: “Despite our best efforts, exhaustive planning and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.

“This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, exacerbated by the coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices.

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“In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing our usual level of service as quickly as we can.”

Twitter users had spoken of delays to their packages.

The spokesperson said 33,000 temporary workers had been brought in to support its 115,000 permanent postmen and women, and they are helping to sort parcels, cards and letters.

Eight centres to deal with the expected growth in parcels were opened, and a Sunday parcel delivery service will run at the weekend.

“The combination of greatly increased uptake of online Christmas shopping, in no small part driven by the recent lockdown, and the ongoing COVID restrictions mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes this year,” the spokesperson added.

“Every single parcel, letter and card is important to us.”

Earlier this month, Royal Mail announced it was hiking the price of first class stamps by 9p to 85p and a second class stamp by 1p to 66p.

This came after it reported spending £85m during the period on protective equipment, staff absences, overtime and agency workers.

The group said it had a £20m operating loss in the first half of 2020.

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