Royal Mail has issued a warning to the UK government that could see the price of first class stamps increase to more than £1 for the first time in history. The aim of the threat is to end the requirement for Royal Mail to deliver on Saturdays.
First class stamps saw a price hike in March and currently cost 95p. Though the UK postal service has warned further price rises could be needed to stay in business if the six day post mandate remains.
The service faces increased competition from the likes of Amazon and Evri taking a piece of the package delivery pie. In the digital age, people are also sending far fewer letters than in the past.
Chair of Royal Mail, Keith Williams, issued the stark warning to UK authorities. He told a national publication: “The cost to us is driven in part by [the fact that the] volume of letters has declined. You’re delivering the same number of letters over six days when you could be doing it over five. So that is forcing up stamp prices.”
To back up his call for a five-day working week for Royal Mail workers, Mr Williams referenced recent research by regulator Ofcom. It found that 97% of people were happy with a five-day postal service.
The matter was brought up at the House of Commons by UK business secretary Grant Shapps who said there are currently no plans to axe Royal Mail Saturday deliveries. On December 15, he said: “It is not an issue directly for ministers at this time and if it were, then it would have to go through Parliament, so it would be an issue for all of us, there are no plans to switch from six-day delivery.”
This warning comes amid Royal Mail workers strike action taking place throughout December, in a dispute over pay and working conditions. Staff are set to strike again over Christmas on December 23 and 24, having already walked out on December 9, 11, 14 and 15.