Royal Mail and Amazon UK have both launched a recruitment drive for hundreds of temporary staff to assist with the increase in peak volumes expected this Christmas.

The mail and parcel carrier hopes to bring an additional 19,000 staff on board in seasonal roles across its Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide brands between November and mid-January: 17,100 temporary positions are available at its DCs and mail sort centres across the UK, while Parcelforce is looking for 2,000 drivers and warehouse staff.

Sue Whalley, chief operations officer at Royal Mail, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of the year for Royal Mail and we plan all year round to help ensure we deliver the best possible service to our customers. Every Christmas, we make a substantial financial commitment in additional resources to handle the festive mailbag, including the recruitment of thousands of temporary workers.”

Amazon also plans to boost its fulfilment centre and customer service workforce by 13,000 over the Christmas peak. This will be on top of the 1,000 permanent roles created at its eight fulfilment centres.

John Tagawa, director of UK operations, said some of the temporary roles could become permanent full-time positions after the peak.

“Last year, on the busiest day in the run up to Christmas, our customers ordered 4.1 million items - that’s about 47 items ordered per second,” said Tagawa. “The thousands of seasonal associates who join us at this time of year play an integral role in helping us deliver an exceptional experience for our customers during this incredibly busy time.”

According to the August IMRG Metapack Delivery Index published earlier this month, online retailers estimate they will despatch 120 million orders in December.

Yodel is also seeking 5,000 temporary staff in driving and warehouse roles ahead of Christmas.