Royal Mail apologises for delays during busiest winter in its history

Royal Mail boss apologises for delays during busiest winter in its history and vows to keep 10,000 Christmas temp workers on permanently – with annual profits set to exceed half a BILLION pounds

  • Royal Mail hired 33,000 temporary workers to help during the Christmas period
  • The company said it has kept around 10,000 of its flexible workers on since then
  • It also apologised over Christmas delays as it delivered up to 11.7m parcels a day

The boss of Royal Mail has apologised for delays after the company saw its busiest winter in history – but the firm has vowed to keep 10,000 workers who joined over Christmas period as its profits look set to exceed more than half a billion pounds.

The company has apologised for delays in its service as social distancing and tiered-restrictions left many relying on the service to send Christmas presents to loved ones.

Around 33,000 temporary workers joined the company over the festive period, just under a third of which have been kept on.

Royal Mail delivered 496million parcels over the last three months of 2020,  new figures have revealed, as the company said it would keep 10,000 of the 33,000 workers it recruited to cope with Christmas demand

Over the last three months of 2020, the Royal Mail delivered 496million parcels, an all-time high.

‘Given these record volumes, we recognise that at times our service during the period was not always as we would have wished,’ said chairman Keith Williams.

‘But, thanks to the efforts of our team, the retention of around 10,000 of the 33,000 flexible workers from the Christmas peak, and the introduction of new processes, we have been making encouraging progress.

‘We are resolutely focused on delivering a comprehensive service despite the challenging circumstances.’

Royal Mail now expects to make an operating profit ‘well in excess’ of £500 million in the financial year ending in March.

Revenue in the first nine months of the financial year hit £9.3bn, a rise of nearly 14%.

Royal Mail boss Keith Williams has apologised for delays in the service over Christmas 

The number of parcels it delivered rose by 31% to £1.3 billion, while letter numbers dropped 14% to 5.6 billion.

The company said the third quarter had been driven by Christmas and Black Friday, and that tighter Covid-19 restrictions in November and December had made people shop online more.

So far in January, the company’s parcel wing is still performing well, seeing growth of 37% as nationwide Covid-19 restrictions were introduced at the start of January.

Many people are also returning unwanted Christmas presents through the post.

Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: ‘Royal Mail remains one of the largest couriers in the UK and has shown its willing to innovate and reshape itself to meet the new demands of its customers.

‘The introduction of parcel hubs will add greater efficiency and help to offset the drop in letter volumes, while potential new contracts from the growth in e-commerce could help to keep the business on track.’

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