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Letter being posted
Royal Mail says the number of letters and parcels is falling by 10% a year

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Panorama: Can't Deliver, Won't Deliver was broadcast on BBC One at 8.30pm on Monday, 14 December 2009.


Excellent programme, actually telling the real story of how Royal Mail is no longer run as a public service, but as a business, with no regard to customers. I have been a postie for 20 years, and loved the job, but it is now impossible to give my customers the service they deserve, and it is heartbreaking to have to take mail back to the office, or not take it out at all, so that I can finish ON TIME, not early as Tolhurst claimed. Constant bullying and harrassment from managers, terrible atmosphere in the office, no teamwork between staff and managers, in fact most line managers seem to despise the staff as a necessary evil. Congratulations Panorama for showing the public the REAL truth, we posties want to do a good job, but are not allowed to do it.

- Steve

Like a lot of people, I am usually at work during the day. I can understand that posties don't want to be carrying packages to people who are almost certain to be out. However, I live within easy walking distance of my local sorting office and it is very easy for me to collect packages from there. Could there be some workable solution for people to register with their local office if they are happy for the office to keep packages there and just have a slip deliver saying the package is ready for collection? While it is unlikely to solve the problem, it may help a little

- Emma

Our postman delivers our mail later than a year ago, BUT, he jogs on ALL his round, we have seen him on different parts of his round, he keeps up a killer pace. I asked him once why he does it, he said he has to to make the round everyday.

- Tony Feaarn

Ten years ago: Two deliveries a day, the first before 9am the second by lunchtime. Late collections on Saturdays and one on Sunday. First Class usually delivered the next day, second within two days. Now: One delivery a day, often as late as 2.30pm. No collection after noon on Saturday and none at all on Sunday. First Class almost always takes two days and second class up to six days. So absolutely no progress in 10 years. Has the level of Adam Crozier's salary and pension suffered the same demise? Err, no!

- David

Haven't the Royal Mail simply got there units muddled up: 4 miles per hour is a FAST walking pace. Four kilometres hour however is a REASONABLE walking pace.

- Jim Briscoe

I was pleased to view your royal mail episode. By husband has been with RM for over 20 years and all you said about the industrial relations and work/round changes was true. Thanks for exposing this issue. Brighton post office has also increased rounds and they are unrealistic the time and motion targets are not achievable. Just ask the royal mail for its absence records. How many people have they got signed off work through stress. Hope to see a follow up.

- Veronica Olsson

Another attack on the Royal Mail. It takes longer to fill in a P739 sorry your out card than to knock the door. The geo route/pegasus is flawed. I can't complete my round 4 days from 6. Your program has shown the harsh reality of life as a postman.

- Ian Cruise

If the Operations director at Royal Mail believes there is nothing wrong with the workload given to our posties, he will surely have no problem in leaving his cosy office and proving his point by doing the posties round (seen in the programme this evening) himself!

- Kevina Haycock

Many postmen in our area just leave packages on the doorstep without knocking. If you're out they just leave them often in full view of passersby by. I quite envied those people who got a card through their door. At least their post was safe. I even had a recorded delivery package left on the doorstep and my signature forged by the postman.

- Gill

I work for Royal Mail for 2 months now. Royal Mail only take people on casual contracts - which means you do not have any benefits, no pension scheme, no holiday, you earn flat hourly rate, no overtime pay, no uniform etc. And you obviously work very hard doing 3 people's job (sort mail, clean office, moving trolleys, and deliver mail etc.) So, how Royal Mail can say that it wants to us to do excellent service? I am only doing this because maybe someone will recognise my effort, and I will get permanent contract.

- Maciej

Very thoughtful programme , missed a few points but overall thanks for getting royal mail to admit the 4mph walking speed and showing how hard it is to achieve these aims.

- W Roberts

At last a programme that actually shows the realities of being a postie in this day and age. The day-to-day workload we have to handle increases and all RM can say is the workload is falling? Excellent work BBC, long overdue. You have raised public awareness more so in 30 minutes of factual programming than our Union has ever done.

- Martin Webb

I support the workers on this, typical management want more work for less money in less time. Let's see the fat cats get out and do a round and see how they cope in the rain, wind and snow.

- S Millar

An excellent presentation of how unfair Royal Management is to its employees. Paul Tolhurst should try delivering mail himself at 4 miles an hour. Well done the BBC for highlighting this to the naive public. I say that because there was little support for the recent industrial action. Opinion these days is your lucky to have a job and you should just do as your told no matter what is asked of you. The people who think like this should be ashamed ! I am a postman who works in a sorting office where relations with management are not good either. Some managers constantly walk up and down checking to see if you are working. There is little trust nowadays. I believe that further industrial action is inevitable. Management never listen to the posties who know more about the business. They think that because they are management they should make all decisions without involving posties. Royal Mail is dying a slow death thanks to the arrogance of the management.

- Gaz

I am not sure if I missed something in your programme on the postal service but I was left wondering what the postman did for the rest of his shift if his round was only supposed take 3.5 hours. That said, a walking pace of 4 mph does seem an unreasonable pace to keep up for 3.5 hours.

- Oliver Burns

I was glad to see the programme. My Dad was a postman for over 20 yrs, and took great pride in his work. He retired over 10 years ago, but the bullying manangment culture was already becoming commonplace and it really upset him. He was not a radical, but a gentle, decent hardworking man. The Royal Mail seem hell bent on self destruction from the top but have consistently blamed the workers at the bottom, citing opposition to change, and laziness. Why don't they swap jobs for a week and see if they can achieve the impossible?

- Jacki Needs

I think it is unreasonable for the public to expect mail to be delivered exclusively in the morning. I live in France and have lived in America where mail is delivered once a day at any time. As long as your mail is delivered every day where is the problem? If you want a specified delivery time from any other delivery service provider you must pay a steep premium.

- Caroline McCrory

I watched this evening's programme about Royal Mail and as a postman myself can confirm that it was an accurate portrayal of the problems faced by posties up and down the country. While the managers sit in their cosy offices playing with their computers trying to decide how long walks should take we are faced with the daily problem of deciding which customers should get their mail as most of the walks are too big. The senior management spokesman was a perfect example of the problems faced by this company. Despite overwhelming evidence that the new workloads are too big he continues to live in denial. How much more proof does he need? The more Royal Mail cut delivery staff numbers the more the service will suffer which in turn will drive more customers to our competitors. How ironic that we in turn will still be delivering these items but probably even later than we do now. Would it not be a better idea to increase staff numbers to ensure that we can provide a first class service and thereby reclaim the customers we have lost or is this too simplistic? Perhaps Royal Mail management are happy to see our standards drop and care more about profit than service. That sounds like privatisation. Surely not?

- Laurie Harvey

A promising start which never moved on. Spent far too long on the speed of postmen ignoring all other aspects of the service or lack of it. No mention of their pathetic Customer Service record and the fact that the 'Royal' makes it very difficult for customers to complain in the normal manner. How do they deal with finding missing items of which there are thousands? What about all the additional insurance payments they glum out of consumers? The most irritating music throughout. Panorama used to be a comprehensive factual programme. I am disappointed that it has been 'lightened' to make it trendy and full of unimpressive, unnecessary tricky photography. Don't underestimate your viewing public.

- Jan Devey

As an ex-postal worker I was incensed about the comments made by the general public on your programme last night as to the delivery of packets. Whilst I admit that it may happen in some offices although I have never witnessed it in the offices where I have worked, what the general public don't admit to is the amount of times I have knocked on doors with no answer (always at least twice) - have taken the time to write out a 739 ("while you were out card") and put it through the door along with any other items of post only for the owner to open the door once they realise it is the post to say "I didn't hear you" although they can hear the letter box make a noise. What people don't realise is as postal workers we want to get rid of the packets as we only have to carry them around for the rest of our delivery if they cannot be delivered. I also suggest that homeowners make sure there is some means of letting them know there is someone at their door - how they expect to hear someone knocking from outside two double glazed doors amazes me. I feel that postal workers (especially on the delivery side) get a very bad press - they have to put up with a number of health and safety issues and are at the mercy of home owners and dog owners. Some properties that you have to visit are dangerous and dirty - with rubbish all over the place and unkept gardens and overgrown bushes along paths, etc. Dogs are a nightmare - if it is not trying to side step the mess they have left in the garden of houses where it is not cleaned up then it is irresponsible owners who don't control their animals. I also totally agreed with the comment that Royal Mail are putting more and more on postal workers again on the delivery side, the weight they are expected to carry is unbelievable.

- Alison Lambert

Both my husband and I are Royal mail delivery workers. We watched your programme last night and was so pleased that all the problems we face have been highlighted by your documentary. Especially the fact that we have to deliver the competitors mail! We love our jobs and to a lot of people in the community we are the only outside contact they have on a daily basis. We are trusted workers in the community. We must save Royal Mail.

- Emma Marshall-Telfer



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