Mull’s double-shift posties: overworked and unhappy

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Unhappy posties on Mull are being horribly overworked, say concerned community councillors.

Last week’s community council meeting heard that double-shifts are putting Royal Mail workers under terrible pressure as they work long hours struggling to cope with not enough staff.

But community councillors heard Royal Mail had checked the situation and could not see any issues either with understaffing or late deliveries.

The emphasis in Royal Mail’s reply was that deliveries were happening as they should be, said CC convener Tom Nelson.

A letter is now being sent back to Royal Mail expressing more concerns from the community that posties are having to work long hours.

Community councillor Jo Prior said: ‘They are horribly overworked, it’s awful for them at the moment.’

And convenor Mr Nelson added: ‘I know they are not happy.’

The community council’s letter will also be asking for clarification what the island’s staffing level should be and what it actually is.

Mull councillor Mary-Jean Devon, now retired, contacted The Oban Times on Tuesday May 3 about a backlog of undelivered letters and parcels she said was held up at Tobermory Post Office because of understaffing.

Tobermory had been without deliveries since April 29, she told us – although the rest of homes and businesses in Mull and Iona were receiving a normal service.

‘Mail and parcels are getting to Tobermory but there is no one to deliver them in the town. Two out of the usual three posties for Tobermory are away because of Covid and holidays and there is no one able to help.

‘Senior management have been made aware of the desperate situation but staff are being ignored – apart from apparently being asked to work double shifts which would be breaking regulations,’ said now former Councillor Devon.

When The Oban Times contacted Royal Mail on May 3, a spokesperson denied mail chaos.

An official Royal Mail statement that day said: ‘Our colleagues in the Tobermory Delivery Office have worked hard to restore the high standards our customers expect from Royal Mail. There is now only one round in Tobermory that is being shared amongst other team members, as the usual postman is off with Covid-19. The round will be fully staffed on Thursday.’

Over the last six months, The Oban Times has reported on many instances of missed and late mail in the Oban area as well as on Islay and Jura.

Last month a Royal Mail spokesperson apologised for the disappointment expressed by some customers.

In a statement blaming a combination of resourcing issues and the high number of absences caused by Covid-19,  Royal Mail said it had now put in place a number of measures to address those problems, and were ‘confident’ that customers should now receive a service of the high standard that they are entitled to expect.