Royal Mail said it had recruited 16,000 additional workers to support its staff over the festive period after MPs in the south east complained that their constituents were experiencing “serious delays”.
Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden in Sussex, said she had met with senior representatives from Royal Mail after residents said they were experiencing disruption to their post.
Some constituents in Hailsham told the MP they had not received any post for a fortnight.
Ghani said the postal service had assured her additional resources were being redirected to Hailsham from Monday (18th December) to recover service levels in the area.
She said: “I recognise the importance of a prompt and reliable postal service and I was appalled by reports of severe delays in receiving postal deliveries experienced by some Hailsham households.
“Having already made written representations to raise individual cases of residents, I stressed these concerns at a meeting with senior Royal Mail representatives and demanded assurances that there is a clear plan in place to urgently improve the frequency and reliability of postal service for all constituents across Wealden.
“I understand that the delivery delays have been caused by high levels of staff sickness and absences and I was pleased to secure commitments that resources are being redirected to Hailsham to recover service levels and restore consistent and reliable service ahead of Christmas.”
Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, reported Royal Mail to Ofcom earlier this year after constituents complained to her about the service.
“They want to focus on parcels rather than letters and actually they have got a universal service obligation to deliver those letters,” she said.
“The posties say to me that if they had their staff replaced when they go off sick or leave and their vans reinstated that they would be able to provide a good service and that’s where we need to get to.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Our teams are working extremely hard to ensure a consistent and reliable service to households throughout Kent and Sussex this Christmas.
“We can confirm mail is being delivered to homes daily with the vast majority arriving on time. If a delay occurs, such as when a route is not completed, we will prioritise that area the following day to ensure any delays are kept to a minimum.”
The spokesman added: “To support our staff and meet demand, we have recruited 16,000 seasonal workers, increased our vehicle numbers and boosted our operational capacity with extra parcel sorting sites.
“We are committed to delivering Christmas for our customers.”