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Royal Mail today vowed to improve its service after failing to achieve delivery targets set out by Britain's postal regulator.
Just over nine out of 10 (92.9 per cent) first class letters and parcels were delivered the next day over the last six months. This narrowly fell short of a target of 93 per cent, set by Ofcom.
Service in Royal Mail's second quarter – the three months to September – dragged down the firm's half-yearly effort with first class deliveries 0.6 per cent behind targets.
Special deliveries were behind targets in both the first (by 0.5 per cent) and second quarters (by 0.3 per cent).
But second class post, which stipulates mail must be delivered within three working days, was slightly ahead of target. Post reached homes and businesses with the timeframe 98.8 per cent of the time, ahead of a 98.5 per cent expectation.
Royal Mail operating chief Sue Whalley said the 501-year-old firm takes its regulatory obligations to deliver mail on time "extremely seriously".
We are not complacent. We are more focused than ever on continuously improving and maintaining high standards of service.
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Royal Mail is the only UK postal firm bound by a universal service obligation and required to publish its quality of service record.
The firm is currently locked in talks with its main union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) over a raft of changes it wants to implement. These include closing Royal Mail's "gold-plated" final salary pension scheme and change working hours to better compete with next-day rivals such as Amazon and Hermes.
The CWU has called for industrial action if an agreement cannot be reached.
Whalley added: “Our postmen and women work exceptionally hard to endeavour to deliver to these challenging targets, which are among the most demanding anywhere in Europe."