Royal Mail should stop blaming Covid for delivery failures, says Ofcom

Royal Mail cannot keep blaming the coronavirus pandemic for failing to make deliveries on time as its performance is falling “well short of where it should be”, the postal regulator has said.

Ofcom said an investigation found that Royal Mail failed to meet several of its annual delivery targets, including only 82% of first class mail making it to recipients within one working day of collection in the year to the end of March, against a regulatory target of 93%.

Royal Mail blamed the pandemic for failing to hit its targets, citing staff absence, particularly during the Omicron wave last Christmas, social-distancing measures and “unusually high parcel volumes and sizes” protracting the length of the delivery process.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s group director for networks and communications, said: “Looking back at last year, Covid-19 was clearly still having a significant impact on Royal Mail’s operations. However, the company’s had plenty of time to learn lessons from the pandemic, and cannot continue to use it as an excuse.

“We’re concerned by Royal Mail’s performance so far this year, which is falling well short of where it should be. It must do everything it can to bring service levels back up, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it throughout the year.”

Royal Mail said it was focused on restoring its service “to the high standards our customers expect to receive”.

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