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Whistleblower's pictures of Brighton post backlog
4:20pm Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Sort It Out
Royal Mail bosses are investigating after a whistleblower sent The Argus pictures which they claimed showed piles of undelivered parcels at a city sorting office.
Two weeks ago managers announced troubles at the North Road depot in Brighton were finally over.
But the whistleblower claimed the office was still in a “horrendous state”.
Since The Argus published the managers’ claims, more than 30 angry residents have been in touch to say they are experiencing long delays.
Yesterday (May 2) long queues snaked out of the office once again as customers waited for their parcels.
We’ve got so much mail left undelivered every day because we physically can’t get round in timeRoyal Mail whistleblower
The postman sent us secretly taken pictures which he claims show undelivered parcels piled up last Friday morning (April 27).
He said this was because workers were not given enough time to deliver them.
When The Argus asked the Royal Mail whether there were any significant delays in the North Road depot, a spokeswoman told us: “We would like to assure all customers that there is no significant delayed mail at our Brighton delivery office.
"All mail we have for delivery is being delivered every day.”
But after we then sent the spokeswoman the photos, she admitted that due to “unforeseen sick absences” a “small fraction” of the mail had in fact been delayed.
Two months ago the Royal Mail introduced changes to working practices including altered routes and new mail trolleys.
Soon after the changes were brought in, customers reported waiting for weeks for late deliveries and in April The Argus revealed 15 skips full of undelivered mail were lying in the North Road depot.
We then launched our Sort It Out campaign.
When we were shown round the office two weeks ago, bosses and union reps blamed the changes on demands by workers rather than management.
They showed us the cleared depot, claiming the problems had been resolved for good.
But the whistleblower says the depot had only appeared empty because Royal Mail bosses had invited The Argus in on a Tuesday, the lightest day of the week.
He said: “Tuesday is the quietest day by far. Everyone in the office knew that’s why The Argus was asked to come on that day.
“It’s horrendous in there. Nothing has changed. We’ve got so much mail left undelivered every day because we physically can’t get round in time.
“We had 150 bags that were not delivered at the end of last week – that’s about 1,500 packages.”
The postman also claimed deliveries to three of the four delivery areas in Brighton had to be suspended on Monday because workers only had time to clear the backlog built up from the week before.
Every area in the city apart from Hove and central Brighton was affected, he claimed.
He said: “We go home and we just don’t care any more. We are all passionate about our jobs but when you can’t get it done it’s completely demoralising.
“The posties are getting insulted on their rounds but it’s not their fault. These changes were cost-saving exercises dictated to us by management. They have completely messed it up and it’s shocking.
“The public deserve to know what’s really going on in there.”
A Royal Mail spokesman strongly denied that The Argus had been deliberately invited in on a Tuesday but he admitted mail volumes were known to be low that day.
He also denied that three of the four mail areas in the city had been suspended on Monday but said there had been delays to deliveries.
He said: “Due to unforeseen sick absences and the very last phase of changes to delivery practices, a very small fraction of the mail for Brighton – around 1% – has been slightly delayed.
“Contingency measures have been put in place and so that all these items will be delivered today.
“We are working hard to ensure customers receive the service they expect and deserve and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”
l Are you experiencing problems with your mail? Contact bill.gardner@theargus .co.uk and leave your phone number.