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Unemployed people who thought they had secured employment as temporary postal workers in the run-up to Christmas have been turned away from sorting offices due to administrative failures by the Post Office's (Royal Mail) new in-house staffing agency Angard, which is partly managed by Reed, the Guardian newspaper reports.
Many applicants claimed they had been kept in the dark about the status of their applications, and had experienced difficulties getting through to Angard to gain any information. Others said they were turned away because they were not on the 'sign-in list'.
In some cases, the now obligatory security photo identity badges were either lost altogether or were sent to the wrong depot.
The Guardian equally received complaints about the fact that some temporary employees were given less than 24 hours notice of start dates and having dates and locations changed at short notice.
Some workers have also experienced delays with payment of wages because their bank details had been lost. Royal Mail said its initial investigations suggested this was 'not true', but said it would look into the claims more closely.
Royal Mail pointed out it had received 110,000 applications for 18,000 temporary roles this Christmas. A spokesman admitted that there had been difficulties "in a small number of cases" but that the company was "very confident the reports outlined affected a minority of people and were very exceptional. Nonetheless, we apologise to any individuals concerned."
Dave Ward, Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, which represents permanent postal workers, said it had also received similar complaints and urged agency workers at Royal Mail to join the union so it could help protect their pay and conditions.
Ward said "this is the first year that agency workers have been brought in using the Angard agency and we've heard a few cases and complaints which are worrying."
"Some of the worse ones involve people being told they've got a job and then turned away when they show up to start their shift. If people then lose out on benefit payments because they should be earning a salary, that will have a major impact on them and their families in the run-up to Christmas."
"With unemployment so high, the volume of applicants this year has been huge, but if you're dealing with people's employment you should do everything possible to treat them fairly. Agency workers are often vulnerable, so raising their hopes of earning Christmas money and crushing them by turning them away is awful."