Tens of thousands of Dulwich, Peckham and Crystal Palace homes and businesses hit by month-long postal delays at Covid-hit Royal Mail delivery offices

Tens of thousands of people have been hit by their post being delayed for weeks amid a Covid-hit staff shortage at the Royal Mail.

Thousands of South London businesses have also experienced massive delays with crucial deliveries, with letters piling high at depots.

Some residents have even taken to protesting in groups at delivery offices about the hold-ups to their Christmas presents and cards.

Hundreds of firms and families served by the Norwood delivery office in Westow Street, Crystal Palace have flooded the Royal Mail with complaints about the delays. At one stage, up to 22 posties were off sick.

The company has also acknowledged that there are delays at the Peckham and East Dulwich delivery office, also because of Covid-related absences. But it’s online parcel tracking service is no longer available.

Royal Mail (RM), which has 12 delivery offices in the core boroughs of South London each serving an average of 100,000 people, has apologised to those affected.

Les Isaac OBE with his month-late Christmas cards

One person affected is Les Isaac who was given an OBE for creating Street Pastors, which offers practical support and food for rough sleepers. He said: ” One postie I bumped into said it is total chaos. I’m a real fan of the Royal Mail – I love it and support it. But I did not get my Christmas cards until this week – some of them were sent as long ago as December 14. At a time like this, it’s very frustrating and no one knows what was happening.”

Chris Twomey, who lives in Oaks Avenue, Dulwich said: ” It is an absolute scandal. We got some little bits after you contacted them – but it had been almost exactly a month since our last delivery.

“It is nonsense that they cannot get agency staff in because of social distancing. If permanent staff are absent then there is room for freelancers to work. Last year the Royal Mail made almost £400 million profit. So there’s no excuse.

“I am waiting for a contract to arrive and I cannot start an important job until it is delivered.

“People in my street are waiting for crucial hospital appointment letters. People have not received their Christmas presents yet.

“When we complain, all we get is a standard copy-and-paste replies.

“When we marched down to the delivery office to complain, someone showed us the pile of letters which had built up – it was taller than me.”

Elizabeth Netti added: “Like all my neighbours, thanks to the Royal Mail’s closure of our nearest sorting office, we’ve not received any post for weeks. We’ve missed all our Christmas cards, magazine subscriptions and bills. Something needs to be done.”

RM’s website yesterday [Thursday] also admitted hold-ups at Croydon Mail Centre some mail due for delivery today, to addresses in the BR, CR, SE and SM postcodes. It said: “Not all mail was processed or despatched to schedule over the weekend, and as a result may be delivered slightly later than expected, had been.”

The company would not confirm a manager had been sacked or answer two requests to say how many homes and firms were covered by the Covid-hit delivery offices.

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.”

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