Photos handed to the Mirror show cages full of post waiting outside mail centres in Bristol and Warrington. Royal Mail insists it’s ‘typical for this time of year’ – but union sources claimed it shows ‘chaos’ in the system
Bombshell photos show mountains of mail OUTDOORS in midwinter as Royal Mail centres fill up thanks to a strike backlog.
Images and videos handed to the Mirror show cages full of undelivered post outside two mail centres this week – before today’s fresh walkout by 115,000 posties even began.
Royal Mail insists the scenes are “typical for this time of year” and letters are only left outdoors for short periods when it is safe, hygienic and dry.
The firm believes the photos, shared by the Communication Workers Union, were taken just as trucks were unloaded and cages were ready to be moved indoors.
But a union source branded this “rubbish”. They insisted the scenes were “chaos” and “highly unusual”, adding the post was “out in the car park because there was no room in the building”.
The source suggested deliveries were about week behind schedule, adding: “Royal Mail are deluded.
“In mail centres the Christmas post is normally heavy but we can’t in living memory remember scenes were mail was stored outside like this.”
A photo taken outside the Bristol Mail Centre on Wednesday night shows scores of cage trolleys hemmed in together piled high with parcels and bundles of magazines.
A lorry in the background bears the slogan: “Deliveries. Up to 27million homes. All in a day’s work”.
Royal Mail believes the cages pictured were taken inside during the shift. But a union source insisted at least some were left outside overnight, and another image showed post outdoors during the day on Thursday.
A video from Warrington Mail Centre on Monday shows row upon row of trolleys packed with post waiting outdoors. Royal Mail pointed out Mondays are its busiest days.
Images from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland all show indoor mail centre halls packed with trolleys waiting to be moved in recent days.
A CWU spokesman said: “Millions of letters and packages are backlogged across the UK as the Christmas mail mounts up.
“The CWU and postal workers want to save Christmas but Royal Mail must step back from their all out assault on our members jobs, terms and the service they provide.
“Simon Thompson risks ruining Christmas for millions of people. The ball is in his court.”
Posties are descending on Parliament Square today for a rally as they prepare to strike again on Sunday and December 14, 15, 23 and 24.
The last first class posting date for Christmas has been brought forward to December 16.
They have rejected a pay offer of 7% plus a £500 lump sum, because they say Royal Mail – which is losing over £1m a day – wants to cut jobs as part of the pact.
The firm argues the pay offer is being eaten away by the costs of the strike disruption.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We are doing all we can to deliver Christmas for our customers and minimise the impact of damaging industrial action. The CWU is striking at our busiest time, holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country. We apologise to our customers and strongly urge them to post early for Christmas.
“The pictures show busy Mail Centres with thousands of parcels moving through our network and this is typical for this time of the year. The sites shown are processing 30,000 parcels an hour so volume moves very quickly through the centres and on to the next stage in their journey.
“We have been doing a good job of quickly recovering from days of industrial action and have well developed contingency plans in place to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected. However, we cannot fully replace the daily efforts of our frontline workforce on days the CWU are taking strike action.”
Britain is rocked by pre-Christmas strikes from posties, nurses, paramedics, other NHS staff, railway workers and Border Force.
But Rishi Sunak appeared to rule out meeting union demands for public sector workers to head off strikes before Christmas.
He told reporters: “The Government is always going to try and act fairly and reasonably.
“What I’m not going to do is ask ordinary families up and down the country to pay an extra £1,000 a year to meet the pay demands of the union bosses. That wouldn’t be right and it wouldn’t be fair.”
The PM threatened “tough new laws” that could impose minimum service levels on striking 999 workers – but refused to give any detail.