Royal Mail under fire over ‘underhand’ closure of delivery office

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THE Royal Mail has announced that one of its delivery offices in the East Riding is to close – but stressed there will be no redundancies.

Cottingham Delivery Office, in Finkle Street, Cottingham, is relocating to Malmo Road Delivery Office, Malmo Road, Hull, by February next year. The company said it was having to consolidate operations in the face of declining mail volumes. There are 21m fewer letters posted every day than five years ago. The Royal Mail said the 26 staff would transfer to Malmo Road. Customers will be able to arrange a re-delivery free of charge to the same or another address in the same postcode.

But East Riding councillor Ros Jump accused the company of making the announcement in an “underhand” way over the Easter holidays.

She said: “The free re-delivery and delivery to another address facility will in part address the problems but it is totally unacceptable to expect residents, who in some cases will have to pay £20 for a return taxi trip, to collect a parcel from Malmo Road. Many of our residents are elderly, housebound or young families who all are struggling with the economic downturn. Not all our residents drive or have access to family and friends who will ‘just pop over to Malmo Road’ at the drop of a hat.”

The secretary of the Hull and East Riding branch of the Communication Workers’ Union, Mick Whiting, added: “The staff who travel into Malmo Road will either get travel time or will be paid mileage.

“My main concern is the long-term view that the mail operation will be processed at Sheffield within the next two years and I think it will have an effect on the quality of service we provide to our customers, because it’s a 140-mile round trip for any post going to Sheffield to be processed to be brought back to Hull to be delivered. But the business seems to know better and they are trying to reduce their overheads.”

Royal Mail insisted service to customers would remain a “top priority”.