Royal Mail postal delivery 'crisis' sparks launch of survey strath MP to gauge scale of Highlands problem
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Failing postal services have resulted in patients missing vital medical appointments or going weeks without new bank cards, the strath's MP has warned after launching a survey to gauge the scale of the problem.
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry announced the launch of the two-week survey yesterday, as he tries to determine how widespread the issue of late mail deliveries has become.
Despite receiving past assurances from Royal Mail management that the matter had been resolved, Mr Hendry said he was still being contacted by numerous constituents over the issue.
Reports have included people missing vital medical appointments or failing to receive time-sensitive documents such as concert tickets.
And he fears that, as well as becoming more widespread than previously reported, the issue will only grow worse as the busy Christmas period grows nearer.
His new survey aims to identify the scale of the problem and pinpoint the affected locations.
“Postal services are a lifeline for many of us, particularly here in the Highlands," he said. "Unfortunately, too many people are facing difficulties – my team and I have heard of people missing critical medical appointments or going weeks without a new bank card."
"Our posties are working harder than ever and should not be blamed for these issues. They are an essential part of our community, and I know we all appreciate their hard work."
“Despite assurances given to me from Royal Mail management that the problems had already been resolved, it is clear that mail is still arriving much later than it should or possibly undelivered.
"I'm launching this survey to better understand the extent of these problems and identify the areas most affected and would encourage anyone who has experienced these issues to complete it on my website. Once we have that information, I will continue to work with Royal Mail to try to implement solutions.”
Mr Hendry's survey can be found here.
The latest issues come a few months after the Royal Mail suspended union representatives in the Highlands during an ongoing pay dispute.
At the time Mr Hendry accused the company of a 'grave violation' of workers' rights over its handling of Communication Workers Union (CWU) representatives.
The Royal Mail has also come under-fire across the UK in recent years over claims that it has prioritised more lucrative parcel deliveries over its letter service – despite government rules expressly forbidding this under the so-called 'universal service obligation'.
Earlier this year the company's CEO Simon Thompson was called back before a UK parliament committee amid claims he'd misled its members during a previous appearance in which he had denied prioritising parcel deliveries.
He announced his resignation from the company this spring, and just weeks after the company agreed a new pay deal for its staff.
Responding to Mr Hendry's concerns, a Royal Mail spokesperson admitted there had been delays. They said: “We are sorry to residents who have experienced delays in Inverness and the surrounding areas.
"Improving our quality of service is our top priority, and we are committed to restoring service levels to where our customers expect them to be.
“There have been minor delays to mail deliveries in the area and we would like to reassure residents that every effort is being made to keep these delays to a minimum. If a resident has mail and does not receive it on the day they expect, their route will be prioritised the following day.”
The Communication Workers Union has also been approached for comment.