He was once proud to wear the Royal Mail uniform, but now he is embarrassed by the company, saying the public “deserves better”.
After KentOnline revealed the extent of delivery delays blighting the county, a postie lays bare the reality of the job, in his own words…
Truth is I am fed up with what Royal Mail is doing. I am fed up with the way they treat their posties and the way they treat the public.
I have always liked the job because we weren't like the other companies. We always offered something different, something more personal.
I was once proud to wear the uniform, now I am embarrassed by it. When I started the job it was good. It was a job for life, a career. Not anymore.
I have lost count of the faces who have already gone. I have seen grown men in tears because they can’t cope.
I feel sorry for the youngsters coming in. So many leave when they realise how bad it is.
The public thankfully are amazing. Despite the poor service they now get they are so good to us and it makes what is happening even harder to cope with.
People rely on that service, the guy waiting for his season ticket, the lady with the hospital appointment, the child waiting for his birthday cards. They all deserve better.
For that reason, I almost always stay out. Some days I am lucky and only go over by half an hour; sometimes it is a lot longer.
Some 10 years ago roughly Royal Mail introduced something called lapsing into delivery offices.
This tool would only be used in emergencies, like if there were chronic staff shortages due to sickness.
That (extra) walk (delivery route) would be split equally between the office staff so the delivery was covered and all mail went out.
The idea was quickly abused and very soon lapsing became a standard practice as a cost-cutting exercise.
Every few years, delivery offices across the country have revisions.
These revisions are to change walk sizes, add or lose roads, and change things around so that all walks in the office are equal in size.
A machine called geo route calculates average walking speed etc and how many houses a postie can get to within an allotted time.
We had a revision a few years back where the machine made the routes too big.
A new revision has just been worked out and the area manager was pressing for it to be implemented before Christmas.
Our office manager pushed back and managed to get an agreement not to bring it in until January.
When it comes in, there will be 14 lapsed duties; seven in our main office, and seven in the rural section of the office.
That means that each postie will have to take out an additional one hour of work each day on top of their own delivery.
A postie is put into a position where he/she has to choose between cutting off and bringing mail back each day because they run out of time to complete, or being forced to do overtime.
Morale is very low with many posties quitting the job.
Every time a full-time member of staff leaves, they’re replaced by a part-timer. Part-timers don't start until around 9am/9.30am.
This means those on full-time contracts have to take up the slack. On top of extra deliveries, they also have to do extra sorting before they start prepping their walks meaning that they are getting out later and later.
By being out late, with the increased workload, the postie might not even get halfway around their delivery. It is a snowball effect. The postie is beaten before they have even started.
The management's answer is "Concentrate on parcels, bring letters back if you can't complete."
Royal Mail is a sinking ship. It is imploding.
I personally think, If it continues to act in the way it is at the moment, I can see the company going into administration or being split up within the next five years.
Responding to KentOnline’s request for comment on the postie’s experience, a Royal Mail spokesperson denied the service prioritised parcel deliveries over post.
They added: “We are committed to improving our deliveries and ensuring support is in place for our colleagues.
“Since the summer, we have recruited more than 7,000 postmen and women to fill vacancies, and to support the health of our employees and assist them in their return to work, we have introduced a wellbeing programme which provides colleagues with free, confidential, and independent healthcare support, including unlimited 24/7 access to an online GP.
“We have taken additional measures in the lead-up to Christmas to ensure there is enough support in place to handle the increased demand. This includes a drive to recruit 16,000 seasonal workers, and the addition of more vehicles and more parcel sorting sites.
“These actions are already making a difference.”