Postal workers’ union warns against Royal Mail regulator allowing standards to fall, following OFCOM research into UK postal services


The postal workers’ union has warned against Royal Mail’s service regulator allowing standards to fall.

It comes after OFCOM published what it says is the most comprehensive research of its kind into what households and businesses want from the UK postal service.

The CWU says it is concerned about the commitment of government ministers to preserving the principle of postal collection and deliveries across the UK every working day of the week: the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “The ink is not even dry on the USO, having been enshrined in the Postal Services Act only last year.

“This research clearly shows the value that people put on the post and highlights growth areas for consumers who predict they will increasingly rely on postal services for the delivery of parcels and online purchases.

“We want to see innovation not cuts in order to maintain and improve service standards.”

According to OFCOM, internet shopping has fuelled an increase in the number of packets and parcels being delivered to people’s homes.

It says around a third (35%) of residential users receive packets and parcels at least once a month, up from 27% in 2010.

Half (51%) also predict that they will be ordering more goods that are delivered by post in three years time.

The regulator says the research show people want ‘easier and more flexible ways to receive parcels and packets’.

It goes on: “Suggested improvements to Royal Mail’s basic parcel delivery service included changes to delivery office opening hours, improved tracking services, and the ability to select a delivery time-slot.”

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “We want to see the needs of mail consumers and those who work in the industry put at the heart of the response to this research.

“We’re very concerned at what we’ve seen in other countries, where in the Netherlands for example TNT is lobbying for minimum services standards of three days a week.

“This approach would be bad for customers and for jobs.

“We want quality, trusted postal services which serve the needs of consumers and reward people working in the industry. The USO is a vital plank protecting service standards and should be recognised as such.”

OFCOM has asked stakeholders to respond to today’s report by 18 December 2012. CWU says it will make a full, considered response in due course.

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