Country families angry about post round changes

A ‘RESHUFFLE for reshuffle’s sake’ is how families see massive changes to their postal service.

Royal Mail’s new ‘modernisation’ programme means postmen and women will be moved to new areas and delivery routes will alter. Although details of exactly how the changes will affect local people have not yet been revealed, some delivery and sorting staff have made their feelings clear to people in nearby villages and towns.

Debra Channon from Fletching said this decision has caused a major uproar amongst residents and discontent amongst the postmen.

She said: “Some of these postmen have been doing the same rounds for between six to eight years. They have built up a good rapport with their customers and for some, particularly the elderly, they find comfort in having the same face visit them regularly.”

Debra believes customer care and satisfaction should be part of the Royal Mail postmen and women’s objectives.

She went on: “I cannot believe that there is not a simpler and easier solution to the problem rather than changing all the rounds and incurring expense in re-training postmen on the new routes.”

She points out that several hundred local residents in the villages around Uckfield have phoned and written to object.

The Channon family have horses, sometimes being exercised around the grounds, and also an elderly dog who lies in the drive. “A new postman or woman would not know to look out for them.”

Laura Cotterill who lives between Nutley and Fletching agreed. She added: “I’d like to think there is a good reason behind it but all of who who live in such a rural area need peace of mind. I don’t understand why this is being done. Our postman has been around for years and he’s a great chap. This is a reshuffle for reshuffle’s sake. We live in the middle of nowhere. Lots of us have little hidey-holes for things and feel confident that we can totally trust our postman. It’s really alarming for older people in the country where the postman is a lifeline and can recognise little signs that all might not be well. Why spend all this money on re-training when the job is being done well at present?”

No-one at the Royal Mail Uckfield HQ was willing to talk to the Express but they passed us on to the company’s press office.

Spokesperson Valerie Antoine said: “Our postmen and women play a vital role in Uckfield, as well as across the rest of the UK, where we deliver to almost 29 million addresses, six days a week. However, we need to modernise the way we operate. We are therefore we will be making changes across the UK to maintain our services and to keep our prices as low as possible. The way in which we communicate with each other has changed dramatically.

“Unfortunately, fewer letters are now posted every day and Royal Mail needs to organise its delivery routes to be as efficient as possible. We also deliver more larger items and so we are investing in new equipment to carry these items to customers even more securely. The new equipment also reduces the risk of injury to our postmen and women from carrying heavier mail bags.”

She said Royal Mail will continue to deliver in the morning and for a longer period during the day and customers will continue to get their mail by lunchtime.

“When mail volumes vary we may need to adjust delivery arrangements and times.”

Operation changes are based on a national agreement between Royal Mail and the union and were endorsed by postmen and women through a national ballot.