Royal Mail services which are suspended on Christmas Day and Boxing Day have requested permission to take an extra two days off.
Services are suspended on Christmas Day and Boxing Day but as Boxing Day falls on a Saturday this year, a bank holiday on the Monday will follow.
The company is asking permission to take both days off. Together with Christmas Day and Boxing Day and the Sunday, it means there will be no postal services for four days.
Royal Mail argues that most of the post has been delivered by Christmas and it is cost effective to suspend deliveries and collections for the whole of the four days.
Ofcom, the Royal Mail’s regulator, has said it is likely to agree to the change. It will then be applied to future Saturday Boxing Days.
Postal workers were given the day off when Boxing Day fell on a Saturday in 2003 and 2009.
Concern was voiced last night by Labour MP Iain Wright, chairman of the Commons business, innovation and skills committee.
He told The Daily Telegraph that he will write to Royal Mail to make sure it maintains a speedy service. Mr Wright said: ‘The universal service is being eroded here. What will they do for Easter Sunday?
‘It could be a miserable Christmas for children who might be expecting the latest Star Wars toy from their grandparents.’
A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘The overwhelming majority of consumers and business customers would not be disadvantaged as a result.
‘In previous years, figures have shown that mail volumes drop very significantly in the period immediately after Christmas.’ She added: ‘We recognise Royal Mail is at the heart of delivering Christmas for households up and down the country.
‘We take on thousands of additional staff and open dedicated parcel-sort centres to process the additional mail volumes.
‘Our advice to customers is always to post early for Christmas.
‘In line with our usual Christmas planning process, we will ensure we effectively communicate last recommended posting dates for delivery ahead of Christmas well in advance.’
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