Belfast Telegraph

Casual postal staff left with no wages after payroll gaffe

By Anne Madden

Postal staff who worked round the clock to ensure Christmas post was delivered on time have hit out at employers who have left them "begging for wages".

Royal Mail hired 18,000 casual workers across the UK over the festive period to cope with the two billion Christmas cards, letters and parcels that were delivered during that time.

Last month furious staff vowed to stop work at mail centres across the UK, including Belfast, after problems with the payroll system left thousands of workers unpaid.

However, the Belfast Telegraph has learned that the payroll shambles has continued for temporary workers whose contracts were extended until February at Royal Mail's National Return Centre in Belfast.

"The dole is rubbish but at least it is reliable," said one disgruntled worker, Sean from Belfast.

"You have to run after them to get your wages processed - it's like you have to beg."

The problems began when recruitment company Angard Staffing Solutions, which is owned by Royal Mail, contracted casual staff at the end of November to cover the Christmas period.

"Just days before our first payment we were told to contact the recruitment agency because there were problems with the payroll system," said one Belfast worker.

"Since then our pay, which is meant to be weekly in arrears, has been sporadic at best."

A scheme was set up to enable staff, whose pay had not been processed, to exchange vouchers for cash at the Post Office.

On January 9 Royal Mail's managing director of operations and modernisation Mark Higson sent a letter to all casual staff stating: "Our temporary workers are very important to Royal Mail.

"If you experienced any difficulties in being paid, I want to thank you for your patience as well as the contribution you made to the Christmas operation."

Despite this letter, temporary workers found their wages had again not been processed at the end of last week.

"I've now gone into overdraft and I've bills to pay," said one young father. "Our patience has completely run out."

A Royal Mail spokeswoman apologised for the inconvenience.

"We are committed to resolving any outstanding pay issues for individuals as quickly as possible," she said.

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