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Late cards and wedding invites: Residents say Royal Mail should have made 'contingency plans'

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Many households in and around Newbury and Thatcham have been missing out on vital letters due to postal worker sickness absences.

The Royal Mail have admitted it hasn't had "enough boots on the ground" following on from the Christmas period, as reported in this weeks Newbury Weekly News.

A nearly missed wedding invite is just one of the problems West Berkshire residents have been experiencing since the delays began.

The Newbury Delivery Office has reported staff sicknesses.
The Newbury Delivery Office has reported staff sicknesses.

Some residents have offered sympathies with postal workers who have become ill in the recent weeks but others have called for "better communication" from the delivery service.

Wash Common resident Jeremy Gildersleeves didn’t receive his post for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.

From December 22, Mr Gildersleeves and his neighbours reported having no mail come through their letterbox – and they received their first bit of post yesterday (Wednesday).

He said that even before this period, his deliveries had become “very sporadic” and called the issue “bad management”.

Mr Gildersleeves and his wife had a delay in receiving Christmas cards and were late in finding out they had received a wedding invitation but he said he felt “really sorry” for the businesses that may have been waiting for important documentation.

“We had a call because we were sent a wedding invitation by one of [his wife’s] friends and of course she said you haven’t replied are you coming but we didn’t have the invitation.

“It is a bit serious, when they are not delivering for two whole weeks.”

As other residents did, Mr Gildersleeves tried to collect his own post by visiting his local sorting office but found that it was closed.

“I tried to get hold of Royal Mail and contact them and they are not answering the phone. My view is there should be a contingency in place.

“We tried to go and collect our mail from the local office, in the published opening hours, and it was closed.”

He added: “I don’t mind if they really haven’t got any people, I don’t mind going down there and collecting my mail if I have to. I don’t want to but if I have to I will.

“I just don’t understand why there is nothing in place, they just closed up shop.”

Mr Gildersleeves said that although Royal Mail staff were hit by sudden illness, after reaching the third year of the pandemic, this “shouldn’t be taking anybody by surprise”.

“What happens if the NHS closed or the binmen closed and just stopped collecting? They have to make contingency plans.”

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