Royal Mail poll backs standard for six-day-a-week postal delivery
Royal Mail has hit out at rivals TNT Post UK as expectations that its end-to-end delivery service is set to expand further in the UK. The universal service provider commissioned new research from Ipsos Mori that polled people in seven of the UK’s major cities.
The study found that 81% of households believe that no matter who delivers the mail, they should deliver six days per week.
Two in three of those surveyed said they were “dependent to some extent” on mail being delivered every day except Sunday.
Royal Mail has enjoyed a largely unchallenged monopoly on final mile postal delivery in the UK before TNT Post UK launched its first door-to-door mail delivery service in West London in April 2012. That service has now expanded within central and southwest London, launching in Manchester last year.
But while TNT Post UK’s business mail delivery service delivers to homes three days per week — on alternate days — Royal Mail is adamant that companies allowed to compete with its service should be required to meet the same regulated conditions, including to deliver six days per week.
Royal Mail said it was issuing the new research on the public’s view on mail delivery in the expectation that competition from TNT Post will soon “intensify”. In December TNT Post found an investment partner to help roll out its door-to-door service across the UK.
Stephen Agar, the Royal Mail managing director consumer and network access, said the Ipsos Mori survey backed his company’s view that the public want their mail delivered six days per week.
“Royal Mail welcomes competition, but it needs to be on a level playing field,” he said. “Our competitors can cherry pick areas in which to deliver mail and determine the frequency of those deliveries. They are also not required to publish regular performance information about deliveries that is collected and verified independently.”
Royal Mail’s survey polled 3,500 adults aged 16 or over, from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester in December and January.
Along with the six-day service, the survey found even stronger favour for the ability to collect undelivered mail items from a local collection facility, with 91% stating that it was important.
Royal Mail said it has “significant” fixed costs in providing the universal service in the UK, which requires it to deliver six days per week to 29m households. Its competitors are not bound by such requirements, and can provide services in the more profitable urban areas, rather than having to service all addresses.
Agar said Royal Mail’s service is “highly valued” in the communities it serves. “In turn, Royal Mail provides quality employment in our biggest cities – and makes a positive economic contribution in areas where quality employment opportunities are scarce,” he said.
The Communication Workers Union, which represents about 115,000 of Royal Mail’s non-managerial staff, as well as staff in competing companies, said it backed the “strong” public support for six-day-a-week postal delivery.
The union said it also wants to see this as a standards required for all mail delivery companies.
Dave Ward, the CWU general secretary, said six-day delivery should be the standard “across the board.
“This research shows that customers are overwhelmingly dependent on a six-day service. Royal Mail is unique in offering this service,” he said.
“We have worked with Royal Mail to ensure that they set the bar high in terms of the services they provide customers as well as employee pay and terms and conditions. We will continue to push other delivery companies to offer a six-day-a-week service as standard.”