Royal Mail extra long Christmas shut down

By Chris Dawson October 5, 2015 - 12:11 am

Royal Mail StrikeRoyal Mail have won permission from Ofcom to have a four day shut down at Christmas this year. The last Royal Mail post and parcel deliveries will take place on Thursday the 24th December and they won’t start work again until Tuesday 29th.

Whilst this sounds pretty drastic but in reality, due to the Christmas Bank Holidays, the only day Royal Mail would have collected and delivered post would have been the Saturday. Ofcom have decided to make an exception to the Universal Service in relation to deliveries and collections when the 26th December falls on a Saturday starting this year.

David Jinks, Head of Public Relations at ParcelHero didn’t appear that impressed saying “It’s perhaps a little surprising that the newly privatised Royal Mail has asked for a four-day Christmas break. It was privatised by the Government last year and might have been expected to adopt a more consumer-focussed approach. People sending presents and businesses mailing important documents by Royal Mail will need to ensure they send items in good time to avoid a delay of four days, or seek alternatives“.

David’s right of course, if you’ve got customers purchasing on Christmas Eve (or for the next four days) there’s no chance of it moving anywhere for almost a week. Certainly it means that sites such as eBay will need to revise customer’s delivery speed expectations to take the mega-break into account.

Realistically from Royal Mail’s point of view it’s unlikely that they’d get much work done on a Saturday. They’ll be pulling out all the stops to ensure post is delivered by Christmas wherever possible.

Perhaps the biggest impact won’t be last of a delivery on the Saturday, but more likely a ton of annoyed consumers unable to collect missed delivery Christmas Presents from delivery offices which will remain stubbornly closed until everyone goes back to work.

  • ifellow
    2 years ago

    Seeing as 50 to 75% of page 1 ebay search terms the product originates off shore . The 4 days is just time the item will be travelling to the UK.

    Anything in eBay search not dominated by off shore sales will be via courier anyway.

    I’ve also ordered 2 items of Amazon recently which arrived from offshore, but much harder to see dispatch location on amazon. Seeing as most items I buy delivered by royal mail are from outside the UK. I can’t see this affecting me.

    Not to mention now I use aliexpress a lot more, no point using ebay to buy from off shore sellers when can access the market via aliexpress as it is. Rather than ‘item location’ london.

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    Hoorah wonderful news , 4 days without a postie , sanity and relaxation good luck to them, if their not careful people will complain if they sleep at night

    • LeeH
      2 years ago

      As a Postie I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks for your comment/support. It can be hard work at the best of times never mind during the run up to Christmas.

      If anyone begrudges us an extra day off (when typically most people take a week or so off ) then all I can say to them is “Bah Humbug”. If the post you sent or item you ordered is that important make sure you send/order it in good time.

      And remember, if you do need to make a last minute purchase why not support your local retailers and visit the High Street. Bricks and mortar shops still exist!

  • Kieran
    2 years ago

    I do not see Royal Mail’s holiday as a major issue, most of us smaller companies would not have a Saturday collection. The problem is usually how the year’s dates fall, customers ordering Christmas day etc all forget that many businesses are on holiday too, and they expect next day delivery even at Christmas.

    The way the year falls will most likely mean more customer service “where’s my item” queries, and if Royal Mail struggle to clear the backlog from Christmas day then it will only compound things and make it worse, so i am prepared for plenty of complaints this year that are out of our control, not that much different from any other year, there is always one expecting their item to arrive Christmas day etc haha.

    I only hope places like eBay correctly calculate the estimated delivery dates as they are already overly optimistic year round.

    I could have gotten myself a 9-5 job so i only have myself to blame haha, this is all part of the fun of ecommerce!

  • Keef
    2 years ago

    So people think it’s right that a postman can’t have a drink with his family on Christmas day because Joe public was out celebrating and was too hung over to answer the door and accept the parcel? Last posting dates are well publicised and if you are not going to be in why not have your Parcels sent to you at work?

  • 2 years ago

    I use the Post Office exclusively. What I intend to do is to add a note to my listings reminding customers of the Post Office 4 day Break. After all surely if it is in my listings then the customers can have been expected to have read it.

    Also 2015 Christmas the old saying of ‘Post Early for Christmas’ is as true as it ever was.

  • Alan
    2 years ago

    Oh dear posties get to spend more time with their families lets complain, dont leave your ebay shopping until last minute and you will be fine. Dont use sorting offices as storage for christmas presents. We should ban all holidays and haw schools go back on boxing day aswell.

  • Martin
    2 years ago

    This is a non-issue. I feel sorry for those who care about this.

    It is also incorrect to say they would normally work on the Saturday. Saturday is Boxing Day, it is a bank holiday, so they wouldn’t be working anyway. The day that is different is the Monday.

  • Simon Andreas
    2 years ago

    Good news for posties, they get 4 days off to play with all of the toys/presents that they steal from people in the run up to Christmas. I was worried that they would have to put them straight on eBay without having time to enjoy them themselves.

    • Colin
      2 years ago

      I’m a posty and find that remark offensive, if you have proof of this I say phone the police

    • 2 years ago

      Arsehole…I have been a postman for 18 years and never stole a thing in my life and don’t intend too. So watch your mouth Jerk..

    • richbkk
      2 years ago

      I send from overseas to UK, and most western countries. The UK is by far the best with little or no loss and fastest times. A long time ago I was able to determine that most loss was buyer incompetence or otherwise.

  • Mark_H
    2 years ago

    Opening the delivery offices (especially on the Monday) would have seemed a good idea and would not need that many staff .

  • Richard
    2 years ago

    Excellent news, about time this madness of ridiculous delivery expectations over Christmas stopped. I shall be taking a well deserved 2 week break and shutting up this Christmas / New Year….. why? because I can, it’s my business and I’ll run it my way. :-)

    • Bigtimetrader
      2 years ago

      And what sort of message does that give to your customers? Very poor IMO, u want to earn a few quid 24/7 but then expect to take 14 days off when ur customers rely on u, wow, very interesting.

  • m.stockton
    2 years ago

    this is nothing new !! its just that royal mail have had to apply to ofcom for a none service day…when the dates have fallen like this in the past the postmen and ladies have always had the saturday off to enjoy time with there families…what a non story this is..shocking closed down for a whole 4 days…after there busies time of year, how dare they take the whole 4 days….tut..tut…tut

  • Barnsworth
    2 years ago

    As a postman for 5 years, with the royal mail having 150000 staff country wide and nearly 200 in my local office I have never ever seen first hand cases of theft, I have read about them as no doubt everyone has, but, you seem to think postal workers come from the planet post and are shipped here like convicts, we are all members of the public just like anyone else and out of 150000 staff royal mail will no doubt employ the occasional low life and desperate individual who keeps items of post or parcels. This should not be a reflection on the over worked members of staff who do their best at near breaking point during the Christmas period, they are honest and hard working just as any other proffesion and, I’m sure, after walking about for up to 12 hours in the rain delivering this year to get everyone’s Christmas presents out, I’m sure they will love nothing more than being accused of being a thief when they are just working hard and trying to put bread on the table.

    • 2 years ago

      Well said. In my area our Postie has always been a local who knows the area and the people well. I do not remember any items in the Local Press about Local Posties stealing from the post or indeed not delivering the post allocated to them although I have seen the occasional article in the national press about this.

      I am not certain how many of the posties nationally are thieves but I would guess that with the numbers of posties quoted above and the relatively few such items I see in the national press I would guess that the percentage of crooks is very low probably less than 2% maybe even less than 1%.

      I would also guess that with those Sellers who employ staff(as against the One Man Bands) that they have also found the occasional Crook on the payroll. So my opinion of Posties in general is that they are fine hard working people who work hard for our benefit.

      With Christmas looming ever larger in our sights I hope for a trouble free Christmas with the Posties delivering everything on time and no Union or Weather problems to cause disruption.

  • Chris
    2 years ago

    As a postie myself, we work our butts off throughout December and to have the Saturday off on the 26th is what we deserve! Yeah there will be people who will moan, people will moan regardless of what we do. Some people have a hatred of royal mail for some strange reason and just want to see others suffer because they are too narrow minded to see the big picture. Dont persecute posties for the job they do, if you are one of those who insist on moaning all the time about our service stop using us! Go to yodel, tnt, or other couriers. You will soon be moaning about them aswell! You have plenty of notice to send stuff early and as Christmas is a very busy time that is essential regardless of how many days we have off. If you order or send stuff on the 23rd of December you are unorganised end of! That and you are most likely a tosser who is looking for a chance to complain, about a problem you caused yourself! I know a lot of people bury their heads in the sand and ignore advice and it’s clear that those who intend on acting like tossers will act like tossers. To those people get a fucking life! I’m personally grateful I have plenty of customers on my delivery that appreciate the service they get and they outweigh the tossers big time. And most likely moaners are the tossers that are off on two week holidays over Christmas, who wouldn’t want others calling them lazy and undeserving of a break wouldn’t they? Fuck off and get a life. Appreciate your postie as one day there might not be a universal service, and that’s the day you moaners will be complaining in your droves about why it can’t be like it used to be! After moaning about the way it was!

  • BigTimeTrader
    2 years ago

    Trust me, you cannot deny the fact that like with any large firm with historical union bloodlines there is a large % of the workers with a totally different mindset than that of the SMB owner.

    “can’t lift that, against health and safety”
    “can’t move my van 2ft as not in policy”
    “can’t hold the door open as not in my job description”

    Interesting how they can’t do a lot of things which the SMB owner would do without hesitation yet they are the first to demand their entitlements and they know all their rights.

    Now we must all give sympathy for them all doing their job during Q4.

    Wake up. This is your job, this is the service that your company provides.

    • Harry
      2 years ago

      Hmm. You have a very narrow view of the inter-personal actions that go behind any *service*. Yes, if a task is initially in the job description then a worker should be expected to do it as par for the course. However if circumstances change (be it seasonally or not) and therefore the service required changes (due to an excess of need that pushes the capabilities of your company to provide said service) then I think it is proper company protocol to reward staff for adapting to it.

      It’s really good to see that you are modest in your title and I surely believe that you are a ‘Big Time Trader’ working all the hours given to maximise profit; but Royal Mail staff aren’t traders, they’re people in employment who likely take pride and work hard for their service so they can earn money to live. Not just survive but actually live; like spending time with the family or having a holiday or getting a new TV etc. Why shouldn’t they? A solitary extra days break is utterly inconsequential in that context.

      As many above have said, this is non-news. It’s a shame that you, BigTimeTrader, have used it to peddle the really reactionary, counter-productive and lazy argument that Royal Mail staff are mere peons who should be forced to work for our selfish gain. As if Victoria were still our Queen. Times changed long ago and the truth is that if you can’t empathise with your staff then you’re not fit to lead.

  • Barnsworth
    2 years ago

    I’m sorry but your falling into 20+ year old royal mail propaganda area where whenever there has been a dispute or a problem with service the postal workers and their union have been blasted as lazy militants. The fact is its 2015, the majority of offices are no more militant than your average tesco and the workers are treated no better, the idea that posties work like the stereotypical “brothers” of years ago is pretty much fantasy, if they ever did. Most of them start upto an hour before their start time, in some cases to finish early but in most cases to try to finish on time, due the the huge work loads put on them now, a lot of them who have been in the job for 10 or 20 years, old and young, are walking none stop dragging mail and parcels from street to street in the rain, in the dark, on their own, day after day, following the growing list of health and safety and changes of delivery delivery procedures put in place by THE ROYAL MAIL, not by us. We can longer deliver on bikes, we can no longer deliver using pouches, we can no longer deliver to a house who’s door is open who might have a dog that might bite us, we cannot push mail through letter boxes with our fingers of they may have a dog who may just bite the end of our fingers off. Not exactly health and safety gone mad. I don’t know where you get your information from but you may wish to read more up to date happenings with royal mail, or perhaps stop reading the Sun.

  • graham parr
    2 years ago

    As a postie of 20 years I have finally managed to get time off to visit family abroad this year by taking special unpaid leave. I don’t suppose all the people who spend most of December partying and then get two weeks to recover realise that posties are not allowed any annual leave for the for the weeks in December before Xmas and it also very difficult in between xmas and new year.
    Xmas comes every year so if you want something delivered on time then order it or send it early and stop whining about 1 day

  • Tubbsy
    2 years ago

    As a postie & union rep, I can’t believe how small minded & petty some people are. We will, same as always, move heaven & earth to deliver everything by Xmas eve. We will then, same as always when the calendar falls this way, have a whole 4 days off, while most of the country has at least 8.
    Most people commenting on this & other forums are ok with this but there are always habitual complainers, perhaps they should be happy, they’ve got something else to moan about!
    Royal Mail have probably the most experienced & diligent workforce in the country, the fact the company chooses to go with the projections of some knobend fresh from university, rather than listen to posties with decades of experience is a symptom of the society we live in now, they do it because they can & anyone who points out the idiocy of their plans is labelled a ‘militant’. Lets not forget who it is facing an increasingly pissed off public day in day out.
    Something like this is news because of the increasingly poor service our decreasing workforce is expected to provide.
    My office has a workforce of nearly 300, there are 20 vacancies & RM has not recruited anyone in a year! There is surely no question who is to blame for the service we are now providing.

  • Whirly
    2 years ago

    4 days without the hounds barking at the front door then eating the mail sounds like heaven. Enjoy your break posties.

  • BigTimeTrader
    2 years ago

    What a load of BS.

    Retail shops have policy: no holiday allowed to be taken Nov and Dec. (why? too busy serving customers).

    So many posties have it hard, what a shame. I wonder what other jobs there are where workers do not have it hard.

    Busy busy posties doing their jobs after 10-20 years. I feel very sorry for them. They still have a job.

    If you do not like it then get another job.

    Busy busy Postman Pat, if you so busy then why you on TameBay all the time posting comments, you should be posting parcels and letters Pat.

    News Flash – life is tough for everyone, everybody has their own resonsibilites and issues. Wake up, do your job and embrace the reality.

    • Harry
      2 years ago

      Um, no BigTimeTrader. Though you are right that holiday is discouraged in retail sectors around the holiday time, never in my many years has it been policy.

      The ‘if you don’t like it then get another job’ line is also dated and lazy. All of these arguments are so lazy. You are one of the few negative voices on this non-news thread grinding your little axe as if you were left at the alter by the entire postal system. It’s not mature or conductive to proper debate.

      Show me the figures that Royal Mail staff don’t work hard? Find me a comparable employment that proves Royal Mail staff have too many benefits? You can’t, I’m sure. You’ll likely drag up retail as if it is some kind of unified environment (which it very much isn’t). Indeed, if you do drag up retail then I’d be interested to hear your views on an acceptable wage for the ‘average’ shop assistant? Do you think it too much/little? Do you feel they don’t deserve it? Do you respect retail staff? I’m just really intrigued because you appear to be looking down on these services in your demeanour. You really shouldn’t.

      News Flash – Life is tough for everyone so it’s really not worth beating people who are trying to make it better for themselves. At least they’re trying? What are you doing to better yours? [Though I should point out that should you answer that then you will be branding yourself a hypocrite, as life is tough for us all, remember].

  • Simon M
    2 years ago

    I see the true meaning of Christmas is thriving in these parts!

    I think you guys do a great job – over 99% of my sales delivered with no complaints.

    Thank you from me :-)


  • Shuttlebus
    2 years ago

    The full factual story has now been released, only letters will not be delivered during the close due to there not being much mail distributed on those days. Parcels will still be being processed. If it’s true and royal mail does have that many staff running round the land, parcelhero would do well do shut it’s mouth as all the fat careless low achievers it pays minimum wage to to deliver parcels to wrong addresses wouldn’t want to piiis the royal mail workers off too much as the majority of the time they are pulling up along side us desperate for directions as they havent got a clue where they are! Also what a lot of the public AND business don’t realise is when you send a parces AND letters through these companies, dpd, Amazon, yodel, DHL, parcel hero, and any downstream mail company like uk mail and tnt etc. Guess who delivers these items??? Yes, the royal mail. These companies fail constantly to deliver due to cost cutting, low wages and low capacity to complete the job and have no other option than to pass the work onto us. Why di you think tnt/whistle have just had to pull out of their delivery service?? So when you get your package through the door with the big DHL,fedx, dpd,hermes, tnt etc logo stamped across the front, just check who it is walking back down your path, more often than not it will be a royal mail postie, doing the work of these companies as despite all the advertising and slagging off, other than the royal mail, no other company in the UK can cope with the job, they just sell our service to you as their own.if we didn’t take their work, they wouldn’t exist!

    • BigTimeTrader
      2 years ago

      parcelhero getting some publicity, they need to raise their brand as like you say, another firm on the logistics bandwagon trying to make a few quid.

      i have always said, you cannot provide and sustain quality product/service on low margins, same in any business.

      people get blinded and caught up in in, life is hard for everyone fella, wake up!!!!!!!!!!

  • dan
    2 years ago

    im shocked by the small minded posts about theft.

    i have never had anything go missing on me, that was sent to me..

    and only ONE claim for item not delivered correctly SENT by me, and i suspect that being a devious buyer.

    i have had 3-4 items come damaged and they have always been bagged and accompanied by a letter, with info on how to claim, and all shreds of the item in the bag.

    my postie was known to me, and trust me he was always at my door, patiently waiting for me to answer door (as i have mobility issues so take a while!), as i had a lot of collectables items delivered.
    now i hear he is gone from the rounds and manager i think.

    my other posties have also got to know me and adjusted their service to my door accordingly.

    so let them enjoy a day or 4 off. and stop moaning.
    maybe try a day work experience at your local office and im sure you would understand.

    • 2 years ago

      One area that is often ignored is that every year Posties find people who are in trouble and call for an Ambulance or perhaps the Police. Lets take an example. Mrs Smith an Widow living alone out in the Countryside always gives the Postie a cheery wave as he goes by. This particular morning she is not there. So the Postie goes to look for her and finds her collapsed in the garden. He calls the Ambulance and waits with her until it arrives.

      Is this a one-off. No I understand that it often happens. Probably far more often than cases of theft.

    • dan
      2 years ago

      exactly a good point made.

      as much as i am guilty of the new generation not knowing their neighbours (i know most of my childhood / mothers road), but none of my own new ones really)..

      i think its good if “front line” staff / local members of public bodies / businesses play a part in the community like you say.

      i have nothing but praise for my “household” view of the postal service. eg, recieving items, and their staff.. as my original post states.

      obviously as a business / ebay seller, i have other issues with the company, but thats off topic.

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