West London Postal Service Approaches Meltdown

'Managers determined to make an unworkable plan workable'

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New working practices at the Post Office seem to have caused a decrease in service standards across West London. Post office employees are reportedly being asked to work a more regular working day as opposed to the old system in which they would start very early in the morning and leave work once all the mail had been sorted and delivered. This usually left sufficient time for other work in the afternoon.

The abandonment of this system has caused some employees to leave and others to go on strike. To fill the vacated positions temporary staff have been appointed, many of whom are unfamiliar with the area in which they are delivering.

One local postman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that staffing levels at all local post offices had been stripped down to the bare minimum and one employee was now doing the same workload that two or three people had handled before, "the managers are determined to make an unworkable plan workable, and things will only get worse as the Post Office will be looking to cut more jobs in the near future, all I can say is phone your local office and complain."

Residents from Isleworth to Acton and Shepherds Bush have reported problems with some people receiving no mail since Easter. The apparent rapid deterioration comes hot on the heels of the end of the second delivery. Whereas traditionally people expected to read their mail with their breakfast, now most post arrives around noon. The closure of dozens of sub-post offices in the West London area has reduced the perceived standard of service for many residents.

The Chiswick area seems to have been relatively unaffected by the problems afflicting neighbouring post codes. The sorting office had previously experienced a high level of theft leading some mail order companies not to deliver to the W4 post code. Complaints on the ChiswickW4.com discussion forum were picked up by BBC's Watchdog. Residents are speculating that as a consequence senior management at the Post Office are making a particular effort to maintain service standards at this office.

For most West Londoners the site of a familiar postman whose name they knew delivering the post early in the morning something they are beginning to talk of with nostalgia.

April 23, 2004