Royal Mail workers expose “toxic workplace environment” and destruction of mail service for corporate profit

The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) is publishing the first of two batches of write-ins received from Royal Mail workers across the UK in response to its interview with Ian, a member of the Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee (PWRFC): “Royal Mail delivery worker explains ‘The Communication Workers Union is facilitating a race to the bottom’.”

The correspondence from postal workers, including those with long service and new entrants, exposes ramped-up exploitation, management bullying and systemic destruction of the mail service to prioritise the lucrative parcels market. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is denounced for its complicity.

On Wednesday April 3, Royal Mail outlined proposals to begin the dismantling of the Universal Obligation Service (USO) and a wave of mass job losses and cost-cutting. On the same day the CWU confirmed its acceptance of this next stage of restructuring at a fraudulent “Live Q&A” online meeting with leaders Dave Ward and Martin Walsh.

CWU Head of Communications Chris Webb (left), leader Dave Ward (centre) and Martin Walsh, the union's Deputy General Secretary (Postal) at a CWU Live event, April 3, 2024 [Photo: screenshot of video: YouTube/CWULive]

We welcome further write-ins reporting conditions at your workplace and encourage postal workers to attend the online meeting called by the PWRFC on Sunday 28 April, 7pm to discuss a strategy to fight back. Register here.


Glasgow: Read the article, which is hard hitting and accurate. I don’t know where Ian is based but it makes no difference as his day-to-day experience is the same as our office and I’m sure in every workplace across the UK.

London: I worked for 1 month at Royal Mail as a postman/driver. I experienced ignorant, thuggish, bullying management trying to intimidate you at every opportunity. Exploited and treated like a slave. Given impossible workload and told to reduce my time it took by half. What an ugly abusive environment. Welcome to 21st century UK.

Maidstone: We have been sold down the river by CWU in collusion with management, this cannot continue. 500 years of trust given away by greed.

Wales: Corporate greed is prevalent everywhere now, but referring specifically to my delivery office it is being managed by so-called line managers who honestly don’t care in the slightest about the health, wellbeing, safety, sanity and happiness of their workforce and one manager who is as corrupt as you can get, hiring his own partner and paying them false overtime which is in effect paying his own bills. In addition to this, the way he treats and speaks to his staff is unprofessional, unethical and quite simply disgraceful.

Both the vans and the PDAs are seriously substandard, and this simply has to change. A lot of what happens daily in our office is unlawful, unfair and to the public unbelievable, with regular instances of victimisation and bullying. It is a toxic working environment and has unfortunately been this way for some time now. It seriously worries myself and my colleagues as to where we are heading. Thanks for reading.

Yorkshire: Why does the government allow Royal Mail to fail the USO daily? If Royal Mail senior management say the business is set up for 20 billion letters a year but they are only delivering 7 billion, how can they fail delivery of mail daily? (How many less staff do they have?)

Senior management are setting the business up to fail because they no longer want to deliver letters as it’s no longer profitable and all they want to deliver are the more profitable packets/parcels. They talk the letter business down and now call Royal Mail a packet/parcel business that delivers letters.

The business needs to be taken back under government control or we will end up as a packet/parcel that delivers letters 2 or 3 days a week. What Royal Mail did with their £700 million profit was a disgrace with no thought of sustaining the letter business but paying off shareholders so the shareholders would agree to their large bonuses. I could go on!!!

Wirral: Totally agree, we are a joke. 41 years for Royal Mail never been so disappointed with the job, just want redundancy and out. Not alone, 60% of my office feel the same. Sold down the river, union now starting to reappear after going into hiding.

Birmingham: Hello, I’m a postman in the Birmingham area and the conditions are exactly the same as I’ve read up in your article. Walks are failing daily and there is priority for tracked parcels to be delivered over mail. Some walks are staying in the frames for up to 7 days! Or probably more but we are told to deliver NHS letters so pulling them out and driving to each address that has one is very harmful to the environment as we still have fuel vans not electric. I totally agree with what was said about the delivery routes.

We have gone from walking about 4-and-a-half hours a day to 5-and-a-half, all of which takes a toll on your body. We’re told almost on a daily basis that the newly unimproved duties will not be tested so it makes me think they could keep adding more streets on and probably get away with it.

I don’t fully believe the company when they say that we’re not going to every address every day and I’ll mention why… since they made that announcement we’ve had alternate days where an address, say 52 Lettering Avenue, will not have any mail but the neighbouring property will and then the next day there’ll be 4 or 5 letters for 52 Lettering Avenue and that same pattern continues across the whole walk day in day out... could they be purposely withholding certain addresses mail to back their statement of not going to every address every day? Who knows and it does sound far-fetched but in a corrupt world as we well know anything is possible... The Horizon scandal springs to mind... and this company was a part of it at the time.

I’m a long service postie and I honestly wouldn’t know what else to do... it started off as a great job and I did love it but with a corrupt union and even more corrupted company I only work now to pay the bills... the motivation for the job is zero and I know a lot of my colleagues feel the same... some of which are so desperate to finish their walks they come in early unpaid and some are paid to prep other walks or sort mail and parcels but they break off to prep their walks intermittently... just to get out the door early. I am a great postie and always do the job with a smile but that smile is slowly fading.

We welcome further write-ins reporting conditions at your workplace and encourage postal workers to attend the online meeting called by the PWRFC on Sunday 28 April, 7pm to discuss a strategy to fight back. Register here.