Royal Mail ‘systemically failed’ to meet delivery requirement: MPs

Britain’s lawmakers on Friday said that the Royal Mail has “systemically failed” to fulfil mail delivery requirements, as they appealed to regulator Ofcom to investigate the postal operator.

“We believe that Royal Mail has systemically failed to deliver against parts of its universal service obligation,” stated a report issued by the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

The Royal Mail is required to deliver letters six days a week in its one-price-goes-anywhere postal service.

The committee, however, stated it has “widespread evidence” which shows that Royal Mail has been prioritising parcels over letters, without accepting the policy change.

“We recognise the challenges of both the pandemic and ongoing industrial action, but the evidence we have suggests this systemic failure has been taking place before, between and during these events,” it said.

The cross-party parliamentary committee has appealed to Ofcom to start an enforcement investigation which will report back by the year’s end.

“Ofcom must start enforcement proceedings to ensure everyone gets a consistent service wherever they are,” stated committee member and opposition Labour MP Darren Jones.

He added, “Otherwise, what’s the point in having a universal service obligation at all?”

Established more than 500 years ago, Royal Mail has gone through turbulent times in the past decade, especially during its privatisation in 2013.

During the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, the former state-run operator received a boost due to an increase in the volume of parcels but since then, it has fallen sharply.

WATCH | WION Dispatch: Royal Mail workers begin wave of festive strikes

Last year, it was blighted by industrial action as workers stage protests against low wages which have not been increased along with soaring inflation.

In January, International Distributions Services, the parent group of Royal Mail, said that it went through an operating loss of £300 million ($363 million) in the period of nine months till December, after it faced a hit of £200 million ($243 million) due to the strikes. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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