Sunday, June 26, 2022
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HomeCommentHelen Hayes – Privatisation has ruined Royal Mail

Helen Hayes – Privatisation has ruined Royal Mail

Eight years ago, the Tory Lib-Dem coalition government privatised Royal Mail, dismissing extensive evidence that this would result in worse services for Royal Mail customers.

The privatisation of Royal Mail was a disaster for staff and customers alike from the very start, and things have continued to deteriorate.

In 2018 Royal Mail announced the planned closure of its delivery offices in East Dulwich and West Norwood. This would have meant West Norwood residents having to travel to Penge and East Dulwich residents to Peckham to collect undelivered parcels, oversized letters or Recorded Delivery post.

Local Labour councillors worked with me to lead the campaign on behalf of local residents and businesses against these ill-considered and damaging plans.

Although we were successful in forcing Royal Mail to backdown in West Norwood, they pressed ahead with the plans for East Dulwich and closed the Silvester Road sorting office shortly before Christmas in 2018.

The East Dulwich sorting office was sold for £7m as part of a deeply damaging asset stripping agenda at Royal Mail which puts profit before the needs of residents and businesses.

At the time I led a debate in Parliament regarding the proposed changes. I raised the specific concerns of local residents and it was encouraging to see MPs from across the country speaking in opposition to the changes.  Sadly, we are not the only area suffering poor levels of service from Royal Mail.

Together with local Labour councillors I warned that the Peckham delivery office was too small for the volume of post for both the East Dulwich and Peckham areas and that the increasing volume of parcels would only make this worse over time.

We also warned that Peckham was too far away from the southern end of East Dulwich.

Covid-19 has undoubtedly brought challenges for Royal Mail, and I pay tribute to our hard-working posties, who have continued to work hard throughout the pandemic.  But it is clear that shutting down delivery offices and flogging them to the highest bidder has left Royal Mail with no resilience and the result has been a disaster for the reliability of postal deliveries in our area.

This Christmas, Royal Mail also failed to employ sufficient additional temporary staff to cover the busiest time of year, putting even more pressure on our hard-working posties and resulting in disappointment and distress for many people eagerly awaiting cards and gifts from loved ones.

In recent weeks, we have seen problems not only with postal delivery in East Dulwich, but also across many other parts of my constituency, including Herne Hill, Crystal Palace and Sydenham Hill.

Together with your local Labour councillors I’m demanding that the government take action to make sure that Royal Mail is delivering the services that they are obliged to do.

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