Postal workers across the country have faced immense pressures during Covid, with resources stretched thin due to staff sickness and isolation periods. 

Reaching a breaking point, the Royal Mail postal workers at Amesbury Delivery Office took action yesterday, January 10, to raise awareness of the challenges faced across the service and express their frustration. 

As a result, they not only received assurances that more resources would be provided going forward by senior management, but received an outpouring of support from across the UK.

“They felt they had no alternative..."

Amesbury Area Delivery Representative for the the Communication Workers Union Rob Hayhurst said: “Posties in Amesbury and up and down the country are hardworking, conscientious, decent people, and they just want to get the job done.

“We are not used to failing deliveries.

“They felt they had no alternative to raise the profile of this issue other than to withdraw their labour."

The 47-year-old ex-postman said that local postal workers are taking on ‘lots and lots’ of overtime to cover the shortages, but they are 'tired' and ‘demoralized’.

"We’ve worked all the way through during the pandemic and lockdowns whilst a big percentage of the country were at home," he said.

"We were working with unprecedented workloads, because obviously everyone was sat at home ordering stuff, so we got absolutely blitzed."

“You never know what’s around the corner."

Postal workers play an integral role during the pandemic, working hard to deliver everything from Covid testing kits and important documents to online shopping and Christmas cards.

But too often they are mistreated. 

Rob said: “We are the frontlines of Royal Mail and the first interaction a customer has is normally with their local postie. 

“Unfortunately, customers have a go at them and say that they’re not doing their job properly, they say its absolutely disgusting and we expect more from Royal Mail."

Visiting hundreds of houses a day, Rob shared that postal workers put themselves at risk not only of Covid but abuse from customers adding: “You never know what’s around the corner. You don’t know what’s going to come from behind somebodies door.”

"I support you and won’t moan if my post is late."

After sharing their plight on Facebook, the CWU Wessex South Central Branch was inundated with messages of support from across the UK, on which Rob said: "It just shows the amount of frustration within the Royal Mail workforce.”

Many ex-postmen shared their own stories under the Facebook post and expressed solidarity, one user saying: "Breath of fresh air to see a unified office walking out in solidarity.

Another said: "Action has to be taken!!"

Facebook users also took to the comments to share their appreciation of the postal workers and also express their support.

One woman said: "You’re all fabulous and I’m sorry that you’ve felt no option but to do this. I support you and won’t moan if my post is late.

"If this is what it takes for you to be heard then good luck to you all and I hope it work."

"...we are thankful for all of their efforts and determination."

On the outcome of the walk-out, the 47-year-old ex-postman said that senior management responded 'very quickly' and staff were allocated from Salisbury and Andover offices.

He added: “The issue is, if they hadn’t walked out would senior management have acted in the same way or would they have just accepted the failings and let it build up?”

The Amesbury Delivery office is currently experiencing high levels of staff sickness absence, the Royal Mail confirming that additional resources such as temporary agency staff and staff from neighbouring offices being brought in.

A Royal Mail spokesperson commented: “Deliveries are operating as normal across most of the country. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week.

"In a small number of local offices this may temporarily not be possible due to local issues such as COVID-related self-isolation, higher than usual levels of sickness absence, resourcing or other local factors.

"We are providing targeted support to the local offices affected by these issues and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience they may have experienced.

"Our postmen and women are continuing to work incredibly hard, as they have done throughout the pandemic, and we are thankful for all of their efforts and determination.”

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