Royal Mail has been criticised for its poor performance in Brighton although the company said that the problem was the result of staff going on strike.
The business apologised to customers after revealing just over half of mail sent first class was delivered the next working day in the latest quarter, blaming nine days of “highly damaging” strikes.
The worst-performing regions included Brighton, according to the company, as it insisted that it wanted to improve its quality of service and seek an urgent end to the current strikes.
Just 54.1 per cent of first class mail was delivered the next working day in the three months to Sunday 4 December, Royal Mail said, while three quarters was delivered within two days.
And 78.6 per cent of second class mail was delivered within three working days over the same period.
It falls far short of the 93 per cent target for first class delivery and 98.5 per cent target for second class delivery.
Out of 118 postcode areas, not one achieved its performance target over the period, with Brighton, Perth, Sunderland and south London among the worst regions, with delivery performance well below 50 per cent.
The quality of service was significantly higher in the group’s first quarter, from April to June last year, although still below targets.
The company said that most mail was delivered on time but “nine days of highly damaging industrial action” by Communication Workers Union (CWU) members had significantly lowered its performance as postal staff walked out.
Royal Mail chief operating officer Grant McPherson said: “We are committed to improving our performance and accelerating Royal Mail’s transformation in order to restore service levels while meeting the changing requirements of our customers.
“We’re sorry to any customers who may have been impacted by service levels during this period, which are much lower than we would want as a result of CWU’s ongoing strike action.”
Royal Mail workers have been in a long-running and bitter dispute with bosses over pay and conditions.
The CWU co-ordinated a series of strikes in the months leading up to Christmas which led to thousands of postal workers up and down the country walking out.
An overwhelming majority of workers voted for fresh action in a ballot earlier this month although no new strikes have yet been announced.
The company is tied to a “universal service obligation” which requires it to deliver letters and parcels six days a week at one price to anywhere – to 30 million addresses across the country.
But chief executive Simon Thompson admitted this week that Royal Mail had failed to meet this obligation recently and had to do better.
Royal Mail also said that it needed to modernise its network to catch up with the changing mix of post in workers’ mailbags.
It said: “Like postal authorities around the world, we have to make changes to adapt to the reality of significant structural declines in letter volumes – which have declined by 25 per cent since the pandemic – alongside growing demands for parcel deliveries.”
However, Mr Thompson was accused of pointing the finger at others over “rogue posters” in delivery offices, such as one urging staff to not “get caught” pausing during their delivery rounds.
MPs quizzed Mr Thompson at a committee meeting on Wednesday (22 February) after he denied that the business was prioritising parcels and compromising its universal service obligation.