Royal Mail has brought forward last Christmas posting dates by a week as strikes disrupt its services at the busiest time of year.
People wanting to send cards and parcels to loved ones across the UK will have to make sure they get them in second class post by Monday 12 December compared to the usual 19 December.
Those willing to use first class post, which costs 25p more per letter, will have to post their gifts by Friday 16 December rather than the usual date of 21 December.
The absolute last posting date before Christmas using Special Delivery Guaranteed, which costs a minimum £6.85 for a letter, is now 21 December compared to the usual 23 December.
For international loved ones, who live in Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey, Royal Mail said that last postal dates will be TODAY Saturday 3 December, compared to the usual 9 December.
Royal Mail said that the changes to the last recommended postal dates were designed to “keep mail moving in the run up to Christmas when mail volumes are higher”.
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The CWU union plans to strike on 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 causing misery for those businesses that rely on the postal service and potentially delaying presents for Christmas.
Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “The CWU is striking at our busiest time, holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country.
We apologise to our customers for any disruption and delay that the CWU strike action is causing.”
The delays come after regulator Ofcom warned Royal Mail it could not carry on blaming the pandemic for poor service.
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After investigating Royal Mail’s performance it said that it failed to meet delivery targets last year with just 82% of first class mail delivered within one day, compared to its target of 93%.
“We are concerned by the fact that Royal Mail’s performance in the early part of 2022-23 fell well short of where it should be.
We believe the company has had plenty of time to learn lessons from the pandemic, and we are unlikely to consider the factors outlined above as exceptional and beyond its control in future”, Ofcom said.
“The company has committed to restoring quality of service as quickly as possible, and we will be keeping a close eye on its performance over the remainder of 2022-23.”
However, while Royal Mail spokesperson apologised for last year’s poor level of performance, this year’s deliveries have been disrupted by pay disputes with its union.
Ministers and businesses have pleaded with unions to call off their festive rail and postal strikes which is expected to cost the economy £1.9 billion.
Royal Mail has said that it will lose as much as £450 million this year as it contends with loss of business from strikes and falling volumes of parcels and letters.
The unions and bosses have locked horns over attempts to modernise the postal service, pays and change ways of working.
Royal Mail has said that it may have to cut 5,000 to 6,000 jobs next year while CWU has highlighted Simon Thompson, chief executive, received pay and perks of £753,000 last year.
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Here's what days you'll need to have sent your Christmas post by:
- December 3 (originally December 9) – Greece, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and Turkey
- December 5 (originally December 10) – Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA and Canada
- December 7 (originally December 12) – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Slovakia
- December 9 (originally December 14) – Belgium, France and Luxembourg
- December 12 (originally December 19) – 2nd class, 2nd class signed for and Royal Mail 48
- December 16 (originally December 21) – 1st class, 1st class signed for, Royal Mail 24 and Tracked 48
- December 19 (originally December 22) – Royal Mail tracked 24
- December 21 (originally December 23) – Special Delivery Guaranteed
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