Post deliveries in east London hit by Covid crisis among Royal Mail staff
- Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA
Households across the E3 postal district have not received Royal Mail deliveries for the past three weeks in some cases because of Covid outbreak among postal workers.
It is one of three districts in east London and 23 across the UK where mail deliveries have been hit by the pandemic.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs has written to Royal Mail’s chief executive Simon Thompson after being swamped with complaints from households.
“They’re not receiving bills or appointment letters,” the mayor points out. “I understand the pandemic will have had an impact on staffing and on the service. Our postmen and women have served our community and we thank them.”
The mayor is asking Royal Mail’s chief what measures are being put in place to guarantee deliveries.
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Problems over the festive season had prompted shoppers to complain about parcels not arriving on time. Royal Mail has acknowledged that it’s been hit by Covid-19 among staff. Its spokesman said: “We have employees who are self-isolating in line with government guidance, like most organisations.
"This has a direct impact on our staffing levels, especially in areas where there are higher levels of outbreaks. We are drawing in extra resource and offering additional overtime where possible.
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"Some areas may experience a reduction in service due to higher volumes of mail during the lockdown, the ongoing impact of Covid-related staff absences and social distancing measures at mail centres and delivery offices.”
Tower Hamlets councillor Puru Miah, whose Mile End constituency has been hit by the E3 postal melt-down, is calling on Royal Mail to take on temporary delivery staff as at Christmas to cover the gap. He told the East London Advertiser: “It’s horrifying that a basic service is not being delivered in a time of lockdown when people rely on the post. Royal Mail should live up to its obligation and put in extra resources such as hiring temporary staff, like supermarkets do."
Three of the 23 areas affected by Royal Mail deliveries include the E3 district covering Bow, Mile End, Bromley-by-Bow and Old Ford. Other areas affected in east London are South Woodford, Ilford and Redbridge. Ilford North MP Wes Streeting tweeted that he was concerned about vaccination invitations being caught up in Royal Mail delays.