Christmas post is already starting to pile up in delivery centres across the country, as Royal Mail workers prepare to launch a fresh wave of strikes this month.
The Communication Workers’ Union has planned six days of further strike action in December amid a row with Royal Mail over pay and working conditions.
Over 100,000 workers will stage a walkout on Friday December 9, Sunday December 11, Wednesday December 14, Thursday December 15, Friday December 23 and Christmas Eve.
But festive gifts and cards are already piling up in delivery centres, as the service struggles to cope with customers rushing to postboxes before the walkouts.
CWU videos posted online appeared to show warehouses filled with rows of undelivered parcels and boxes. The union tweeted: “All across the UK the Christmas mail is piling up.”
It said that its members wanted to end the strike but Royal Mail bosses had refused to engage.
Royal Mail has urged its customers to post Christmas presents and cards as early as possible in advance of the strikes.
If customers want an item delivered by Christmas Day, they should post second class items at the latest by December 12, while first class items should be sent no later than December 16, according to Royal Mail.
Special deliveries and tracked guaranteed items should be sent by December 21.
Royal Mail workers were offered a 2pc pay rise, but the CWU, which represents more than 100,000 of the company’s 140,000 workers, is demanding an increase that fully addresses the rising cost of living. Inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1pc in October.
They are also opposed to planned changes to their working conditions, including a seven-day-a-week parcel service, reducing letter deliveries to five days and the increased automation of parcel and letter sorting.