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Under pressure Royal Mail staff in Oban have suffered ‘abuse’ because of delayed post, it has emerged.
The issue was raised via the community Facebook page Information Oban and has led to an outpouring of support for workers at the Albany Street delivery office.
A combination of Black Friday sales, Christmas post and a surge this year in gifts and cards being sent by people unable to see each other, has led to a mountain of mail across the network at the end of a tough year.
In a message issued on behalf of the staff in Oban, residents have been urged to understand the pressures they face this Christmas.
It said: ‘The problems with the mail service is a nationwide problem due to the sheer amount of mail that is being generated due to the pandemic.
‘All mail delivered to the Oban sorting office is cleared daily. Any backlog further away is completely out of their hands. Staff are going out of their way to travel to Glasgow at weekends to help with this backlog.
‘Please stop abusing the Royal Mail staff – they are under enough stress without members of the public shouting abuse at them.’
Residents have sent supportive messages – praising the Royal Mail locally for its ‘brilliant’ service and namechecking individual mailmen and women for their cheery attitudes and hard graft.
A spokesperson for the Communication Workers Union added: ‘Our members have been under tremendous pressure – not just now, but since the start of the pandemic.
‘Despite this, they have done an incredible job keeping the country connected. We ask the public to recognise the tremendous job our members are doing under incredibly difficult circumstances.’
The support from the community has also been extended to Post Office staff in Oban who are facing a busier Christmas than usual with long queues at counters.
One said: ‘My sister-in-law works for the Post Office and me and my wife and kids have barely seen her in the last week because of the crazy hours she’s working to support your postie.’
With social distancing rules in force, the Post Office has warned customers that the usual service may take a bit longer.
A Post Office spokesperson said: ‘Our staff are working hard to serve customers as quickly as possible.
‘Due to the coronavirus there is increased demand to send parcels and cards to family and friends and to process online shopping returns, especially after Black Friday.
‘Some days and times are busier than others and customers may find it quieter at the start or the end of the day.
‘Many of our branches are open at the weekend or extended hours, visit www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder for full details.’
People are being urged to post early this year to avoid the rush.
Officially, the last recommended posting dates for sending to UK addresses are as follows:
Fri, Dec 18: Royal Mail 2nd Class & 2nd Class Signed For
Mon, Dec 21: Royal Mail 1st Class & 1st Class Signed For
Tue, Dec 22: Parcelforce Worldwide express48, express48large, which is only available at certain branches.
Wed, Dec 23: Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed and Parcelforce Worldwide express24, AM, 9 & 10