27/02/2004

Royal Mail puts in 'poor' performance

The Royal Mail has performed poorly and is "unlikely" to meet any of the 15 minimum performance targets set out in its licence, according to the mail watchdog Postwatch.

Postwatch said that Royal Mail’s third quarter performance was badly affected by unofficial industrial action, and would not meet its targets.

However, the watchdog pointed out that the industrial action was not an acceptable excuse for its failings. The body warned that it was the duty of management to create and maintain productive relations with staff.

Royal Mail published its letter reliability results for the third quarter (October – December) which show that quality of service for First Class mail fell to 84.9% during the period. This reduced cumulative performance to 90.3%, against a target of 92.5%. Cumulative performance for Second Class mail fell by 1% to 97.6%, against its target of 98.5%.

In the first half of the year (April-September) Royal Mail’s First Class service showed its "strongest ever performance", reaching 92.7%, with Second Class mail at 98.7% - both ahead of targets.

Last year Royal Mail was hit with a £7.5 million fine when it managed to achieve just three of the 15 targets.

Peter Carr, Chairman of Postwatch, said: “Customers of Royal Mail’s business products will for the first time receive compensatory rebates of up to 5% on their year’s postage bills. This will add up to many millions. These unnecessary losses should incentivise management to redouble its efforts to provide a satisfactory service. Customers want the service they are paying for – not compensation for failure.”

Royal Mail Chief Executive Adam Crozier apologised to customers whose services do not hit targets during structural changes brought in earlier in the year. He also warned that customers would continue to see some impact on quality of service due to the implementation of these changes.

He added: “Our customers have suffered as a result of the industrial action in some parts of the UK in the Autumn and I greatly regret that. But since then we have made a major step forward, gaining the backing of our postmen and women for a new deal on pay and change in the company worth 14.5% over 18 months.”

(gmcg)

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