ANGRY representatives of Wigan postal workers today begged residents not to “shoot the messenger” over delayed Christmas cards.
The Communication Workers Union says that Royal Mail cuts are to blame for local folk receiving seasonal greetings through their letterboxes several weeks late.
The Wigan Evening Post reported on Friday that countless locals are still getting Christmas cards long after the decorations and lights had come down.
Carole King, co-owner of the Seven Stars Garage on Wallgate, received a card posted only a mile away on December 18 25 days later on January 12.
The Royal Mail blamed a combination of the bad pre-Christmas snow and the traditional glut of mail during the festive season for the delays. But Mrs King said that these were not excuses for such a long wait, especially as most of the snow has been gone long.
And the CWU said today that Royal Mail moves to slim down ahead of privatisation are to blame.
CWU’s North West regional secretary Carl Webb, said: “The snow and ice did cause major problems for Royal Mail, but it’s not right to still be delivering Christmas cards and presents the second week of January. In the North West we would have struggled with Christmas mail anyway because of all the closures and cut-backs we’ve had in the past year.
“Royal Mail is slimming down to be more attractive before the government privatises it, but that’s having a major impact on service levels. It’s no coincidence that the places where we’ve had most difficulties and biggest backlogs are where mail centres were closed in the last year, Crewe and Wigan for example.
“Royal Mail hasn’t been filling job vacancies and didn’t hire extra vehicles in some areas meaning we were short on both manpower and logistics when the Christmas rush came.
“However, private mail companies failed in the face of bad weather and high mail volumes. We know that many private companies ended up sending their mail to Royal Mail to deliver because they weren’t up to the job, but that obviously increased the pressure on Royal Mail’s operations.
“We understand mail backlogs are very frustrating, but I appeal to customers to see the big picture and not take out their frustration on postmen and women.”