Covid-hit Royal Mail is struggling to deliver in Croydon

Residents across the borough are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of a regular service from their local postie – as Croydon and South Norwood sorting offices and their delivery staff have been hard-hit by coronavirus.

Royal Mail has today admitted it is struggling to deliver post in the middle of the covid lockdown

There’s particular concern from some older residents that their delayed post deliveries might mean that they miss their appointment from the NHS for the covid-19 vaccine.

Some addresses in Croydon report that they had no postal deliveries at all from the week before Christmas until the middle of last week – in some cases meaning that cards or presents despatched via Royal Mail in good time for the big day never arrived until the New Year.

Postal staff contacted by Inside Croydon have confirmed that there has been a high number of colleagues off sick or self-isolating because of the virus in their sorting office. The Communication Workers Union is calling for its members to be added to the priority list of people receiving coronavirus vaccinations.

The Royal Mail today issued a list of the 28 areas worst affected by covid-19 staff shortages, which includes Lewisham and Wandsworth. It has been reported that in one sorting office, in Horsham, seven members of staff contracted the virus and have not been able to work, while 21 people at the Margate delivery office have been forced to self-isolate after three staff members fell ill.

But the Royal Mail list includes no sorting offices serving Croydon – which takes in some or part of the SE25 and SE19 postcodes as well as the CR areas.

Royal Mail says it was “working hard to deliver the most comprehensive and high quality service we can to all our customers” despite the pandemic and the associated rise in pressure on delivery resources due to increased online shopping.

Christmas, of course, is the annual peak period for postal deliveries. Volumes of mail were even higher in December 2020, with many more people shopping online for gifts.

Routinely, Royal Mail hires thousands of extra casual staff in November and December each year to cope with the Christmas workload. But in 2020, the business also made 2,000 full-time staff redundant.

One anxious Inside Croydon reader said, “I have not had any postal deliveries since December 16 or 17.

Postal deliveries have become an increasingly rare thing in Croydon

“On the last day that I received post, several items had been bundled together and secured with an elastic band. Of the items that were franked, none had been posted less than five days earlier – by my reckoning there must be items that have been in the postal system for a month that they haven’t delivered to me.

“The Royal Mail website says, ‘some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards’. That hardly fits delays of a month or more. You would have thought that, after more than nine months, they could have come up with covid-secure ways of working that didn’t endanger staff and ensured at least a basic service.

“I am genuinely concerned that I may never see all my missing post: Christmas cards, magazines, credit card statements, tax disc renewal notice… The Royal Mail have made no attempt to communicate directly about the service, or the lack thereof, or when or if there will be one again.

“The frustration is made worse by the impossibility of communicating directly with them. I am having to complain to customer services based in Glasgow!”

A Royal Mail spokesperson told Inside Croydon: “Throughout this crisis, every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first.”

“All Royal Mail operational sites across the UK are working hard to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers in challenging circumstances.

“In common with most organisations, we have a number of employees who are self-isolating in line with official regulations. This has a direct impact on our staffing levels. Deliveries are being made every day and we are working hard to deliver as normal service as we can, drawing in extra resource where possible.

“Despite our best endeavours, some areas of the country may experience a temporary reduction in service levels due to unavoidable staff absences and essential social distancing measures. In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing a normal service as quickly as possible. We would like to thank customers who have expressed their understanding of these challenges. We appreciate their patience while we continue to run as normal service as we can.”

There is a dedicated section on the Royal Mail website with updates about changes to their service.

And the CWU said, “Our members have worked under incredible pressure since the beginning of the pandemic. In the build-up to Christmas and a new wave of the virus, this pressure has only grown. Despite this, they are doing all they possibly can to keep the country connected.

“We ask the public to recognise and understand the tremendous efforts of our members in these unprecedented times.”


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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13 Responses to Covid-hit Royal Mail is struggling to deliver in Croydon

  1. dick budgen says:

    And Royal Mail aren’t helping the situation by insisting staff take holiday at this busy time.

  2. mikebweb says:

    Well it would be NICE if Royal Mail could tell us what we can expect, that assumes they know themselves.
    JUST TELL US once a week, once a month or every other day, but tell us something!

    Interesting to speculate on where the temporary staff were employed as none ever delivered here.
    (perhaps they all work undercover?)

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    In many circumstances letters proven posted in the Royal Mail are deemed received. This assumption is applied in many courts, regulations, legislation and civil areas. Failure to receive and the impact of that failure is placed as the responsibility of the receiver. Royal Mail accepts no responsibility to the receiver only the sender, who as they are covered have no interest in the fate or impact on the receiver. This also extends to the NHS who sent appointments by mail (or say they do) Many appointments are missed due to the failure of the Royal Mail to deliver accurately on time or even to the right address.
    I and others have raised this with Royal Mail on many occasions having received mail weeks too late that has been forwarded from Wales and to houses of multiple occupation (HMO) on roads nearby and to other house on the road which are also HMO or developed into flats. However as we are not the senders etc. This also seems to apply to other areas of legislation like Party Wall.
    Frankly it is time for the Royal Mails role in our communications system to be better regulated or for legislation in all fields to have this assumption removed to prevent the myriad injustices that occur from it weekly across England from happening, not to mention the discrimination against ill and disabled people who regularly have their much needed medical appointments delayed by months or have to face the prospect of obtaining a GP appointment and being referred all over again.

  4. Joe Camel says:

    I have been receiving a bundle of post around once a month. I see posties on other streets day after day doing deliveries but my street seems to be in a black spot. I had a delivery the first week of december, then nothing again till the 6th of Jan with a pile of christmas cards. It had been bad all year, 2,3 and 4 week gaps sometimes then a deluge would arrive. Same thing, important deadlines missed, news too late to act on. Its a shambles and has caused me alot of problems.

  5. dick budgen says:

    I have to say it often comes down to your local postie, and we’re very lucky – ours is excellent.

  6. Skell Nonche says:

    Live In CR0 and have been getting post about every 1-2 weeks for a while now, whereupon 20 letters come through the door at once.

  7. Sonia Rose says:

    can we go to the sorting office ourselves and collect our post.

  8. mikebweb says:

    It is my understanding that Royal Mail has 500 years experience, so why is it that they cannot provide any sort of reliable service, yet the various parcel delivery companies that I use, can still so do?
    Why is it that Royal Mail cannot make a commitment for business premises to delivery each day and for private households, throughout the borough, to deliver say twice a week?
    Why cannot Royal Mail deplpy their staff so that everybody get a fair share rather then letting one delivery round deliver each day while an adjoining ones get less than one a week?
    The sooner Royal Mail is sold off to the likes of Tesco, the better!!
    Any idiot can deploy staff evenly throuh a borough or a local sorting office area. If they dont wake up they will be out of business

  9. M Reveley says:

    I think I should have had a COVID-19 vaccination letter by now. I can only assume the post people have decided not to deliver it to CR0 8AA, so what happens to older people like me?

    • Royal Mail can’t deliver your post if their staff are off sick or isolating, that much is obvious.

      Have you tried phoning your GP practice to check whether you have been allocated an appointment?

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