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UK — Undercover temporary employees witness Royal Mail chaos

28 December 2009

Two Daily Mail reporters who worked undercover as temporary employees at two separate Royal Mail depots during the peak period before Christmas have witnessed scenes of utter chaos and mis-management.

The British Post Office has recently been faced with a series of enormous problems from a 10% drop in mail volume per annum to re-structuring, modernising and a number of all day strikes, which could only just be prevented from continuing over the Christmas period.

The two undercover reporters who were employed by staffing agency Manpower witnessed mis-sorting, over-staffing, under-staffing, racism, breaches of health and safety and security and even reported incidents of theft.

A manager at the Brinklow sorting office near Milton Keynes said "we do a lot of sorting for Amazon and every year stuff goes missing. It is so easy to fill up a sack of parcels and head out with it. The security is rubbish. Casuals come in for just a day, walk out with a load of stuff and are never seen again."

One reporter was told that each temporary worker would be signed in and out on a security list. Never once, in the nine days he spent at the sorting depot, did he see that happening.

A manager at the sorting office in Northampton told one of the reporters "it is the same every year. They get in more staff than they need and the work becomes even harder because there are people standing around everywhere or two people trying to do the work of one."

Yet at other times both reporters witnessed that during staff shortages temporary employees who had worked through the night were asked to stay on and were given thinly veiled threats that if they refused their shifts might dry up.

A Manpower spokesperson said "we work closely with Royal Mail to ensure that all our staff comply with industry regulations and the specific requirements outlined by our client to safeguard anyone using Royal Mail's services. We consider our responsibility to carry out and provide evidence of these checks to be of the outmost importance and we will continue to work with our client to deliver this high standard of service."



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