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LTB 320/23 - Christmas Peak 2023 - Repatriation of York Containers

No. 320/2023

Our Ref:  C25/23 

To:  All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Christmas Peak 2023 – Repatriation of York Containers:

Discussions with the Royal Mail Head of Assets and his team which manages York Container provision and flows through the network have been taking place in order to ensure safe working at both permanent and temporary sites through the 2023 Christmas Peak period which, as we all know, is Royal Mail’s busiest period, with around double the normal volumes of parcels and stamped letters processed.

Royal Mail is hiring 16,000 temporary workers for this year’s Christmas Peak period and an additional 7,000 hired vehicles across the Royal Mail Group plus extra temporary processing outhouses have been created across five seasonal parcel sorting centres in Atherstone, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Daventry and Greenford. Royal Mail expects the two new automated Super Hubs in the Midlands and North West to process two million parcels a day across both sites. Parcelforce Worldwide is also recruiting additional drivers and indoor workers.

We have no doubt whatsoever that CWU members across the UK will be pulling out all the stops to deliver for the nation at Christmas, Royal Mail and Parcelforce’s busiest time of the year and we know how important it is to deliver on time for the UK public.

One of the main problems we face internally each year is promptly clearing Delivery Office and MPU sites of empty York Containers, repatriating them back to the processing centres and in doing so avoiding yard congestion, maintaining yard safety and workplace transport safety standards for both the workforce and site visitors which increase in number at Christmas Peak.

To ensure sites are safe and clear throughout the busiest time of year with the largest volume of containers within the network, Delivery Offices are to ensure that Container repatriations regularly take place and are returned to the agreed locations. Repatriated Yorks should be fully nested and consolidated in line with the York SSoW as well as being identified on the Office’s Yard Risk Assessment.  This will ensure congestion and potential safety issues are avoided as well as ensuring Royal Mail can maintain York Container supplies to customers in order to deliver a good quality service.

Part of this repatriation focus is a “Every York Counts” campaign with messages around misuse and repatriation activity through peak and to highlight where this is not happening.

Royal Mail Assets have requested the assistance and support of the CWU locally to monitor York container clearances and repatriation arrangements at Delivery Office and MPU sites in order to avoid the build-up of huge numbers of empty Yorks.

Royal Mail Assets would encourage ASRs, WSR and IR Reps to report any misuse, failure to utilise York repatriation services to clear offices and any excessive build-up of York Containers within their respective Delivery Offices to including photos where possible, so that they can assist in site clearances and ensure safety and support for the operation and customer requirements.

Whenever and wherever the number should build up to a level of concern, CWU Reps are requested to report the situation and road services will then be laid on to make clearances of the Offices concerned and so maintain safety and operational expediency at the same time, so protecting safety and quality of service.

Should CWU Reps need to report any Offices with large numbers of Yorks not being repatriated – please report it by either e-mailing: or telephone Gary Yeo – 07872 636537 or Julie Brown – 07553 379256.

Your help and support is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer


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