EU snail mail lorries mean later letters

WESTON'S postal service is set to plunge into chaos under new EU rules which say delivery vehicles have to drive more slowly

WESTON'S postal service is set to plunge into chaos under new EU rules which say delivery vehicles have to drive more slowly.Postmen say the changes will threaten their livelihoods as they will be forced to deliver mail much later in the day and businesses will turn to private couriers.Royal Mail vehicles, which bring letters and parcels to Weston's sorting office, will only be allowed to drive up to 56mph. This means the post will get to Weston later.New EU regulations mean the delivery vehicles have to be fitted with 'speed limiters', restricting speeds under health and safety guidelines.Postmen say the area's postal service is already bad enough but will get even worse when the new plans are approved.Many postmen also have second jobs in the afternoon which their finances depend on. But because they will have to deliver the mail later in the day, some will not be able to get to these jobs.Royal Mail says the changes will improve 'efficiency' as most of the post hasn't arrived when the Weston postmen get in at 5am.But workers disagree and believe the town's postal system will become a joke. They think companies will not bother using Royal Mail and switch to private couriers - ultimately putting their jobs at risk.Weston's representatives of the Communications Workers' Union are currently locked in negotiations with the Royal Mail over the changes.One local postman, who did not want to be named, said: "Part-time staff like myself would start at 7.45am as opposed to 6.45am now. Full-time staff would start at 6am instead of 5am."I personally get in about half-an-hour before my shift starts to get a head start, as I know most others do, which is unpaid time."Starting later will mean post people will get out of the office between 9.30am and 10am which will result in Weston getting its mail even later."Some colleagues have another part-time job they go to after posting and the later start time would make this difficult."Personally, my partner starts work at 2pm and this would mean I have to be back home before then to look after our small baby while she goes to work. This is the only way my family can cope financially."Royal Mail says this change will bring us in line with competitors. I have spoken to a few customers and asked them what they thought about the later start time, most said the post is late enough as it is now."A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We have a situation where staff arrive before the mail does and it does not make sense to pay people when there isn't any work."Another reason for the change is getting ready for new EU transport legislation which limits speed of vehicles to 56mph."Some of the vehicles are already fitted with limiters ahead of the new rules coming into force."Because of the slower speed they will get to the sorting office later."We will consider the situation of people with part-time jobs as special cases."We will also make sure all deliveries are completed by 2pm.


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