Households say they get mail as infrequently as once a FORTNIGHT and are then hit with a sudden deluge of late cards and missing post.

Hospital appointment letters, birthday cards, parcels and important bills have all gone missing in delays caused by a staffing crisis in Witney.

Witney Central councillor Andrew Coles highlighted the issue on his Facebook page.

Sally Bond replied: "My daughter sent me an important document from Edinburgh a few weeks ago, it took a week to get here."

One Witney Spotted user said: "It has been over two weeks since we had post from Royal Mail. Due to my working hours and their working hours, I've been unable to go to the sorting office to discuss."

Another replied: "My husband has been waiting for some tickets for yesterday's football match they have not yet arrived. So he missed the match."

A third said: "I’ve been getting post every other Monday, parcels included."

Cllr Coles said he has been contacted by a number of residents highlighting the poor standard of service.

He said: "Witney residents can go for days at a time with no post and then suddenly receive a lot of items on one day.

"On Monday, having not had any post for the last days of the previous week, I suddenly received 10 items of post.

"It really isn't good enough, particularly if you are expecting an important letter like a hospital appointment."

However, the cost of stamps continues to rise, he said.

A standard letter size first-class stamp went up again recently by 15p to £1.25, the second increase this year and the third rise in 18 months.

Postal workers at Royal Mail, which began to be privatised in 2013, started industrial action in May 2022 in a dispute over pay and a “dramatic” reduction in living standards because of soaring inflation.

The strikes ended in July 2023 after workers agreed to a three-year pay deal.

Mr Coles said: "I met a number of Witney's postmen and women at the Witney delivery office last year and I know that no fault lies with them.

"They care passionately about the service they provide and we mustn’t forget that during the pandemic they were often the only people those who were isolating saw and interacted with.

"I do, however, understand there are currently quite a few vacancies at Royal Mail's Witney delivery office and staff retention seems to be a bit of a problem."

Royal Mail said it had plans in place to bring back a good service in Witney.

A spokesperson said: We are committed to restoring our quality of service to our customers.

"We have plans in place and dedicated teams responsible for improving deliveries in Witney and at our delivery offices nationwide.

“Over the last six weeks we have recruited around 3,000 postmen and women and are continuing to recruit around 500 permanent positions a week in delivery. 

"To support the health of our employees and assist them in their return to work, we have introduced a wellbeing programme which provides colleagues with free, confidential, and independent healthcare support, including unlimited 24/7 access to an online GP."

Royal Mail said consumers did not have to worry that Christmas cards and parcels would go astray or arrive hopelessly late.

“In the lead up to Christmas, we are taking on 16,000 temporary workers, more vehicles and additional parcel sorting sites to handle double the normal volume of parcels we expect over the period," said the spokesperson.

“These actions plus others are already making a difference in some areas and we are confident that they will continue to improve quality of service for our customers.”