Put posters up or leave drinks on doorsteps to thank postal workers, says union

‘We have seen thousands of examples of local postal workers stepping up,’ Communication Workers Union states

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 29 April 2020 09:30
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Members of the public are being encouraged to show their gratitude towards postal workers who are continuing to deliver mail by putting up posters in their windows or leaving drink on their doorsteps.

On Wednesday 29 April, National Postal Workers Day is being held in honour of postal workers across the country.

The annual event is organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), a trade union for the communications industry with almost 200,000 members.

A spokesperson for the union stated that in the “unprecedented times” we are living in, “one thing always remains constant — the significant role our members play in every community in the UK”.

“This year we are calling on the public, media and politicians to give a greater level of recognition to postal workers than ever before,” they said.

“Despite hugely challenging times, CWU members are keeping the country connected. From delivering essential items to checking on the elderly and taking shopping to the most vulnerable in society, we have seen thousands of examples of local postal workers stepping up.”

CWU has criticised the Royal Mail over the continual delivery of advertising mail, claiming that senior managers at the Royal Mail have refused to meet regularly with the union at the highest level.

“Postal workers across the country are doing a fantastic job. It is sad that senior management have not recognised the efforts of our members but the public have,” the union spokesperson said.

“The sight of posters in windows, drinks left on doorsteps or even a simple ‘thank you’ mean the world to our members.”

Following the announcement of a nationwide lockdown, the Royal Mail issued updated guidance on its services stating it would remain “open for business”.

The statement said: “The postal service is a key part of the UK’s infrastructure. The delivery of parcels and letters is a way of keeping the country together, businesses operating, and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes.”

Shane O’Riordain, managing director of marketing, regulation and corporate affairs at Royal Mail told The Independent: “The mail is still scheduled to be collected and delivered as normal. This is a fast moving situation and local service levels may at times be impacted by local absences.”

The Royal Mail also says it has contingency plans in place if the situation changes further: “We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure mail is kept moving.”

In response to the CWU, Mr O’Riordain said the firm has put more than £25m towards buying equipment including hand sanitiser and disposable gloves in addition to putting other protective measures in place “to keep our people safe as they keep the UK connected during the ongoing lockdown”.

“This includes distributing half a million bottles of hand sanitiser through our operation in recent weeks. As well as increasing supplies of hand sanitiser, soap, cleaning equipment and disposable gloves, we have used this significant cash sum to source face masks for those who want them,” he said.

“Marketing mail is an important way of paying for the universal service. It accounts for about one in every seven pounds of the money we generate in the UK. In relation to Covid-19, this revenue is vitally important to the business.”

Mr O’Riordain said the Royal Mail is “required to deliver the mail” due to its “universal service obligation”, and cannot “pick and choose” which items are delivered.

“Marketing mail is a vital form of communication for small and large companies alike. It will be even more important as companies seek to re-engage with their customers whenever the UK returns to normal.”

He stated that throughout the coronavirus pandemic, every decision being made by the Royal Mail “puts the health of our people and our customers first”.

“In assessing the risks to our people and making the necessary operational changes to protect them, we take professional medical and health and safety advice on a daily basis. Royal Mail continues to engage with the CWU on a daily basis on this matter,” Mr O’Riordain said.

“We are pleased that at a local level and through national officers we have been working together to find practical solutions to the many issues that have emerged.

“We have a joint interest in protecting our people and we hope that that focus can continue through the operational discussions taking place between our teams.”

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