Warning over post backlog as Harpenden delivery office moves
PUBLISHED: 19:02 19 September 2012
A BACKLOG of around 3,000 packages has allegedly piled up at a delivery office in Harpenden while the operation is moved out of town according to Royal Mail employees.
Staff claim large volumes of mail have been held up due to changes to their working day brought in as a result of the relocation to St Albans.
They said packets, including recorded delivery items, have been stacking up since last Tuesday, and extra temporary staff have been drafted in to help tackle the problem.
One worker, who asked not to be named, said: “In the past we say we are going to get the whole lot finished because that is what we are paid to do.
“Now we are saying we are going to get three-quarters done because the new system is totally illogical. It is chaos.
“It is a huge backlog which steams from the whole Royal Mail modernisation. They have sold the Harpenden office from under our feet.”
This latest development comes after members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) voted in favour of taking industrial action over the plans to close the Harpenden delivery office in Station Road.
However, the union believes Royal Mail has rushed through the move, which was completed at the beginning of this week, to stop them from going ahead with the strike.
Tom Walker, branch secretary of the CWU which represents the delivery office workers, said: “The move was meant to be through September and October but I think when they got the ballot results they moved ahead quickly and there is not much we can do about that.
“Staff were considering taking industrial action but because of the position we find ourselves in now it would be a legal minefield. It would be taking the action for the sake of it.
“The employees are going to have to grin and bear it but if the problems are not resolved they will fester.”
He continued: “We are sorry we cannot defend the service but we will continue to argue with the business and hopefully it will dawn on them that the best way to provide the public service is to have a location in Harpenden.”
But Royal Mail has defended the accusation and claimed the transfer happened on a phased basis as planned.
They also said the delivery office will be kept open until Saturday for customers to collect undelivered items from before August 28. Any mail that was not received after this time can be picked up from Harpenden Post Office.
Spokesperson Sally Hopkins said: “All mail is going out for delivery every day. If any customers have any queries about their mail, they should contact our customer service team on 08457 740 740 or via our website www.royalmail.com.”