Wedding Service

Residents say Royal Mail should have made ‘contingency plans’

Many households in Newbury and Thatcham and surrounding areas have missed vital letters due to sickness absences from postal workers.

The Royal Mail has admitted it hasn’t had ‘enough boots on the ground’ after the Christmas period, as the Newbury Weekly News reported this week.

An almost missed wedding invitation is just one of the problems West Berkshire residents have faced since the delays began.

The Newbury delivery office has reported staff illnesses.

Some residents have offered their sympathy to postal workers who have fallen ill in recent weeks, but others have called for “better communication” from the delivery service.

Wash Common resident Jeremy Gildersleeves was not given his post for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.

From December 22, Mr Gildersleeves and his neighbors said they received no mail in their mailbox – and they received their first mail yesterday (Wednesday).

He said that even before that time his deliveries had become “very sporadic” and called the problem “mismanagement”.

Mr Gildersleeves and his wife were delayed in receiving Christmas cards and were slow to find out they had received an invitation to a wedding, but he said he felt ‘really sorry’ for the companies who were perhaps expecting important documents.

“We had a call because we received a wedding invitation from one of [his wife’s] friends and of course she said you didn’t reply if you were coming but we didn’t have the invitation.

“It’s a bit serious, when they don’t deliver for two whole weeks.”

Like other residents, Mr Gildersleeves tried to collect his own mail by visiting his local sorting office, but found it was closed.

“I have tried to reach Royal Mail and contact them and they are not answering the phone. My view is that there should be a contingency in place.

“We tried to pick up our mail at the local office, within published business hours, and it was closed.”

He added: ‘I don’t mind if they really don’t have anyone, I don’t mind going over there and picking up my mail if I have to. I don’t want to, but if I have to, I will.

“I just don’t understand why there’s nothing in place, they just closed up shop.”

Mr Gildersleeves said that although Royal Mail staff have been hit with sudden illness, having reached year three of the pandemic, it ‘should not take anyone by surprise’.

“What happens if the NHS closes or the collectors close and just stop collecting? They have to make contingency plans.