(Reuters) – Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulator, said it launched a probe on Monday into Royal Mail’s failure to meet delivery targets in the past year, adding it would consider imposing a financial penalty.
Royal Mail earlier said it did not meet delivery targets for 2022-2023, blaming union disputes that had caused strike action and affected operations.
“In deciding whether the company is in breach of its obligations, we will consider if there were any exceptional events – beyond the company’s control – that may have explained why it missed its targets,” Ofcom said in a statement.
“If it does not provide a satisfactory explanation and we determine that Royal Mail has failed to comply with its obligations, we may consider whether to impose a financial penalty.”
A total of 18 days of strikes by Royal Mail postal workers between August and December had cost the parcels and postal company more than 200 million pounds ($252.42 million).
“We are disappointed with our quality of service performance and restoring our service to the high standards our customers expect is our top priority. We will participate fully with any Ofcom’s investigation,” Royal Mail said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
In its annual quality of service report, Royal Mail said on Monday that 73.7% of first class mail was delivered within one working day during the year, compared with a universal service obligation (USO) target of 93%.
“We’re sorry to any customers who may have been impacted by our performance during a year that has been one of the most challenging in our history,” operating chief Grant McPherson said in a statement.
“With the plans we have in place to drive service levels and reduce absence, we hope and expect to see further progress in the coming months,” McPherson added.
(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)