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Stop blaming Covid for slow delivery times, Ofcom tells Royal Mail

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oyal Mail has been slammed by communications regulator Ofcom over its continued failure to reach key targets ahead of the crucial Christmas delivery season.

The watchdog said the company was using Covid as an “excuse” for the delays, and it was possible to have met the targets but the firm instead “fell well short of where it should be.”

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Group Director for Networks and Communications, said Royal Mail has had “plenty of time to learn lessons from the pandemic, and cannot continue to use it as an excuse.

“We’re concerned by Royal Mail’s performance so far this year, which is falling well short of where it should be. It must do everything it can to bring service levels back up, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it throughout the year.”

Only 82% of First Class mail was delivered within one working day of collection in the year to March 2022, well below its target of 93%, according to Ofcom, while the firm only completed 94.29% of delivery routes on each day that a delivery is required, against the target of 99.9%.

Since the pandemic, Royal Mail has been embroiled in a row with the Communication Workers Union over pay, jobs and conditions which has led to a series of strikes, with more walkouts planned in the busy run up to Christmas.

In October, Royal Mail said it planned to cut as many as 6,000 jobs over the next year and there could be more redundancies ahead as the industrial dispute gripping the company shows no sign of easing.

The delivery business reported an operating loss of £219 million for the first half of the year, with an expected full-year loss of £350 million. Royal Mail shares have tumbled 55% since the start of the year.

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