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Coronavirus UK: Royal Mail scraps Saturday letter deliveries

Royal Mail will stop all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm will ‘temporarily’ cut back its services from this weekend as the country continues to grapple the deadly bug.

People will face waiting up to two days for their letters as the post already does not come on Sundays.

But most parcels – including Tracked and Special Delivery – will not be impacted by the move and postmen will pick up from branches and post boxes as normal.

It comes as union leaders are encouraging posties to call in sick rather than risk catching coronavirus during their daily rounds.

And on Wednesday postmen will take part in the annual National Postal Workers Day, where they pat themselves on the back for their work.

Royal Mail has scrapped all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic (file photo)

Royal Mail has scrapped all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic (file photo)

Royal Mail has scrapped all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic (file photo)

The Communication Workers’ Union, which represents postal workers, has hit out at the cancelled Saturday letters deliveries and hinted strikes could follow.

A spokesman told the Mirror: ‘We will be seeking urgent discussions with the government on this issue.

‘The reduction of the Universal Service Obligation was a key factor in our live national strike ballot.

‘The last thing we want to do is call strike action at this point but we will not sit back and see our members’ jobs put at threat and the service to the public worsened.’

Last month the union tried to lobby for home deliveries to be reduced to three days a week, with postmen dropped off items on alternate days. But this was shelved.

Chief customer officer Nick Landon said postmen have faced ‘incredible pressure’ and ‘need some relief’ in a video shared with workers.

He said in the footage: ‘We want to lessen the load for deliveries across that weekend, making us focus on the parcels to clear all of that traffic.’

A Royal Mail delivery man does his rounds in Richmond on Tuesday. But the Communications Workers Union is encouraging its workers to call in sick rather than risk catching the coronavirus

A Royal Mail delivery man does his rounds in Richmond on Tuesday. But the Communications Workers Union is encouraging its workers to call in sick rather than risk catching the coronavirus

A Royal Mail delivery man does his rounds in Richmond on Tuesday. But the Communications Workers Union is encouraging its workers to call in sick rather than risk catching the coronavirus

A Royal Mail statement said online: ‘Our postmen and postwomen are working very hard across the UK in challenging conditions.

‘As we said at the start of the coronavirus crisis, there will be some disruption to services.

‘Relevant factors include high levels of coronavirus-related absences and necessary social distancing measures.

‘We understand the importance of the postal service in keeping the UK connected at this time. We have also listened to our hard-working colleagues who have asked us to ease the additional burden on them if possible.

‘As a result, we are making some temporary changes to postal services.

‘Customers should continue to post both letters and parcels as usual on Saturday. We will continue our Saturday collections from businesses, post offices and post boxes as normal.

‘From 2 May we will temporarily no longer deliver letters on a Saturday. We will continue to provide a letter delivery service from Monday to Friday as normal. We will continue to deliver Special Delivery, Tracked, all non-account services and most other parcels from Monday to Saturday across the country.’

Royal Mail workers were designated as key workers to keep deliveries flowing during the pandemic.

But ministers have stopped short of accepting a CWU proposal for them to be the ‘fifth emergency service’ and deliver essential supplies such as food and medicines’.

A CWU spokesman told the Telegraph: ‘It’s not right that postal workers should be risking their lives to deliver pointless junk mail, shopping offers and water pistols.

‘If the Government doesn’t accept our offer, in three weeks we will have to look again at our support for the key worker status.’

Royal Mail has introduced new rules to keep staff apart in depots and van sharing has also been put on hold during the pandemic.

Rico Back, Group Chief Executive Officer, Royal Mail, said: ‘We are focused on protecting our people, company and the communities we serve during this unprecedented crisis. We are putting the health and well-being of colleagues and customers first.

‘At the same time, we are delivering the parcels and letters that are a lifeline for those who cannot leave their homes.’

Courtesy DAILY MAIL

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