More than 1,100 families have signed a petition demanding an improvement in postal deliveries by the Royal Mail.
Tens of thousands of residents of Dulwich, Crystal Palace, Nunhead Peckham and Gipsy Hill had to wait almost a month for their Christmas cards to arrive – as revealed in last week’s South London Press.
And some of them have been astounded after the lack of improvement after the story appeared in the press and TV outlets.
The latest online information on Wednesday January 12 lists affected delivery offices as Camberwell, Herne Hill, Rotherhithe, Sydenham, South Croydon and West Norwood, adding: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. We will regularly update customers on the offices most impacted.”
The petition had been signed by more than 1,115 people this week, with more piling in every day.
Resident Pippa McLeod said: “We are paying for a service we aren’t receiving! If not for text service I and my elderly mother would’ve missed important hospital appointments.”
Juliet Sprake added: “No letters for a month. General emails from customer services not helpful.”
Chris Twomey is still waiting for a contract he should have got two weeks ago to start support work for a homeless charity.
He said: “I am thinking of marching up there this week to ask them if they have any jobs available. I will be cross if they don’t because they have not got enough staff working there!
“Post is coming through in very random fashion.
“My daughters are still waiting for Christmas presents from their grandparents.
“One neighbour is waiting for a blue badge and could get parking tickets at any time – he will not be able to contest them until it arrives.”
Another resident affected, Ben McCormick said: “Stuff I ordered in November is yet to arrive. I’ve even had someone post out a replacement for something that they assumed was lost in the post – and that hasn’t arrived either, having been posted on 13 December.
“I had an important HMRC [tax] letter arrive incredibly late that meant I only had a week to settle a bill. The only stuff that gets through is tracked/signed for/special delivery, which Royal Mail has to account for, or Covid-19 PCR/LFT tests.
“Royal Mail are blaming sickness/Covid absence, but this has been going on since they merged the SE22 and SE15 delivery offices several years ago. The problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic, but that’s not the cause.
“The merger was obviously a cost-cutting exercise/efficiency drive due to privatisation. Seems Royal Mail are perfectly able to deliver dividends to their shareholders but not so hot at delivering mail to customers.
“I’m now at the point where I won’t order anything from businesses who use Royal Mail because I just can’t trust that the goods will arrive.”
Resident David Brady said: “Commerce over community has led to years of postal delays for residents. The problem is lack of distribution due to the closing of local sorting offices without adequate capability to absorb demand.
“Of course Covid will be a factor but given the issue has been going on for years, Covid is now a very poor excuse for what is ostensibly a sub-standard service with little hope of change. The real problem is accountability and lack of a plan from Royal Mail to solve the problem. Saying sorry is fine but after five years, and no strategy for solving the problem, any apology is going to be a bit hollow.”
The petition says: “A failing postal service has led to many suffering with lost prescriptions, lost documentation, lost banking details, fraud and stress. What do you do when your passport, lawyer’s letter, Doctor’s letter, subscriptions or correspondence from loved ones simply doesn’t turn up for weeks on end, if at all?
“We expect a reliable postal service and in a modern society this is a service that is essential for conducting a normal life.
“Since the closure of Silvestester Road’s sorting office back in 2017, combined with staff shortages and (in the last 2 years), Covid, Royal Mail has been failing to provide even a basic level of service in beleaguered SE22 and the surrounding areas of Dulwich Village and parts of Peckham Rye.
“It would be easy to blame all this on Covid but the problems existed long before Covid was a household name.
“We demand a timetable with specific and measurable outcomes to ensure we return to a reliable postal service.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The vast majority of mail is delivered safely and on time. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week.
“In the local area, we are experiencing some delays to service due to Covid related self-isolation and higher than usual levels of sickness absence.
We apologise to any customers who may have experienced delays to their mail. To address these challenges, we are providing targeted support to the local offices affected by these issues.
“Our staff are continuing to work incredibly hard, as they have done throughout the pandemic, and we are thankful for all of their efforts and determination.
Anyone who has concerns over the delivery of their mail should contact the Royal Mail customer service team on 03457 740 740 or via the Royal Mail website www.royalmail.com.”
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.