We’ve all been affected by challenges in Royal Mail but residents in Portslade have had period of exceptionally poor service, especially late last year and again in recent days.
I’ve been contacted by loads of residents about deliveries that have sometimes been ridiculously late.
So today I went along to the Portslade sorting office myself so I could meet postal workers and management directly. I wanted to understand better what’s gone wrong, how long it’ll take to get back on track and also to make your voice heard load and clear.
There’s one thing I need to say right at the top: please don’t blame your local postie for the problems, it’s really not their fault! Several frontline postal workers told me about the times they’ve faces aggressive behaviour from frustrated customers. One lovely woman who sometimes served people who come into the sorting office told me about having things thrown at her. I understand people’s anger but these frontline workers really don’t deserve this sort of behaviour! After all they’re the ones who get out of bed early every day caring about getting our mail to us.
It’s very clear that there has been severe management failure near and at the top of Royal Mail in the recent past. When I was on the business select committee I played a part in exposing this and Darren Jones MP has done a brilliant job of doing so in recent weeks. This shows that the fundamental challenges facing Royal Mail have not yet been solved and that inevitably makes its way down into communities like ours.
Today I met with the Portslade sorting office manager, Darren, who took up his post in last October. I also met the regional director Pawel, and plenty of brilliant frontline posties. In addition to that I was bombarded with messages from my brother who’s a postman in London!
Earlier this week I received several complaints from Portslade residents about late deliveries. They were right to complain because last week there was a big build up of mail at the sorting office and for various reasons there simply weren’t enough workers to process, sort and deliver it all. As of today that backlog has largely been cleared.
Even though things are pretty up to date now, the service isn’t entirely robust, that’s very clear, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are similar situations arising again in the coming weeks. However, i have been assured by management that resilience is building within staffing numbers and systems and within the next two months there should be marked and enduring solutions.
One of the key people in the sorting office was Tina, a true Portslade character who was troubleshooting across the sorting office and doing me the honour of some solid straight talking about life in a busy local sorting office. Like the vast majority of people who work in our postal service, Tina really loves her work and cares very deeply about getting people’s letters and parcels to them in time and takes pride in her job.
Other parts of the city haven’t had the same depth of problems as Portslade and that’s why I was so keen to go and visit myself. Too often Portslade gets the short straw when it comes to services and investment so it’s my mission at times like these to roll my sleeves up and make sure everyone who lives here has someone to stick up for your interests.
I’ll be staying in touch with many of the workers I met today and doing my best to ensure you get the postal service you deserve.