Royal Mail accused of giving a better service than you pay for

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The Sunday Mail carried a nice hatchet piece on the Royal Mail saying “The Royal Mail has made millions of pounds by charging for a first-class delivery service that it has effectively scrapped”. It went on to say that Royal Mail have apparently decided that at the weekends when mail volumes are lower that it makes sense to process second class mail on Saturdays instead of leaving it until Monday.

Normally what happens is that first class mail is sorted and sent on the same day that it’s posted and second class mail is sorted the next day. The result is according to the Mail that customers posting items by first class post on a Saturday could save themselves 10p by using a second class stamp and the post may still be delivered on the same day.

Royal Mail strongly deny that there has been any change and insist “First class mail always has the priority over second class mail at all times” and that “first class mail is our priority; we do everything possible to deliver it the next working day”.

The Royal Mail explained that “Mail volumes on a Saturday are very much lower than in the rest of the week, and stamped mail makes up a very small fraction of it. To help reduce the losses on running the six-day service, Royal Mail is no longer running a dedicated transport network for the small proportion of second class mail posted on a Saturday”

First class post is still first class and hasn’t been downgraded in any way at all. Second class post remains a second class service, but when Royal Mail are particularly quiet, such as at the weekends, then second class items won’t trundle around the countryside in half empty lorries while the vehicles transporting first class are also half empty.

Bearing in mind that Royal Mail isn’t exactly the most profitable company in the country you can hardly blame them for saving money where they can – or should second class post be purposefully held back and transported separately at additional expense just to ensure it can’t possibly be delivered early?

11 Responses

  1. I used to sort mail in the Post Office as a temporary worker. As I recall we finished the First Class mail and then moved onto Second Class.

    If more First Class mail came in, it interrupted the Second Class mail until it was done, and then we moved back onto the Second Class mail.

    I couldn’t see the overall process, but it appeared to me that there was a real time imperative on the First Class mail and Second Class is deferrable, but uses the dead capacity when the priority mail is done.

    This is the most sensible way to manage the process and utilise the capacity of the system. First Class is virtually guaranteed next day, with insurance. Second Class is deferrable and a gamble and not insured. That’s what you pay the 10p for.

  2. I saw this on the front cover at the weekend and had a chuckle to myself, good old Daily Mail!

    To be honest I don’t know why RM don’t scrap 2nd class post, seems a waste of time and effort!

  3. If 2nd class post is scrapped and a single standard service delivery of between 1-3 days is offered with 3 days being the maximum are there likely to be efficiency savings for RM?

    Or is this 1st/2nd class thing simply a cosmetic revenue generating excercise and the reality is offering this 2 tier service makes no difference to costs?

  4. @Gary

    Yes, there would be savings. Royal Mail needs an expensive air network to provide the current 1st Class service that would not be necessary with the single service standard you suggest.

  5. Sadly, RM need to stop fu**ing about with this ‘re-organisation’ thing.

    In ELondon, they have virtually closed the ELondon Mail centre & hived it’s opertions off to local delivery offices, that then sent the mail for sorting to a Main Romford office, which often arrives as late as 9pm.

    AS the National delivery lorries, have to leave @ 9.30pm on their journey to local hubs, much mail is not getting sorted till the next day.

    In reality, it’s all gone pear shaped & some 1st class Large letter mail [in our case] is taking 7-14 days to get to destination.

    I was told today [by our posty] that it’s all going back to ELondon, mail centre, as the whole thing is simply not working.
    The top line says, it worked, the bottom line said it didn’t. They’ve laid off & relocated Hundreds of staff, only to back track the whole exercise.

    Maybe our post will start to get 1st class treatment for the 1st class price we pay now, although with Xmas coming, we doubt it…..


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