Postal Workers Face Busiest Day

17 December 2014, 10:00 | Updated: 17 December 2014, 15:06

Millions of cards, letters and presents are being sorted across the country as postal workers deal with their busiest day of the year.

In Scotland, Royal Mail staff have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the run-up to Christmas to sort the festive postbag.

At the Glasgow Mail Centre around 2.6 million items of mail were being sorted today, including 270,000 parcels as the surge in online shopping continues.

Similar loads are being handled in Edinburgh, with centres in Aberdeen and Inverness also at their busiest, as sending festive cards remains as popular as ever.

Gerry McAuley, delivery director for the west of Scotland and Cumbria, said: "We did a survey to gauge views on Christmas cards and 89% of people that took part said they still like to receive a personal card rather than an electronic message and as you can see in this plant today, sending cards remains the way for most people.

"This is our busiest day of the year and we anticipate we will handle 2.6 million items in this plant.

"We have 780 people here that work year round and at this time of year they work a lot of extra hours, which we're very grateful for. On top of that we recruit around 360 people to support the Christmas operation.''

Extra vehicles and extended delivery office opening hours are also in operation to ensure letters and parcels get out.

Royal Mail staff will be working on deliveries until Christmas Eve, with the last recommended posting dates tomorrow for second class mail and Saturday December 20 for first class.

In order to get everything sorted quickly, staff are urging customers to mark their post clearly.

Postal worker Samantha Addison said: "You get quite a lot where the address is missing or the postcode isn't there. Sometimes people put directions on the card to tell the postman where to go because they don't know the address themselves.

"Some of the handwriting can be hard to read sometimes and some cards are covered in glitter and decorations that go everywhere. When you can get the mail sorted it's good fun.

"Obviously it's really, really busy at this time of year and there's more online shopping which means more parcels for us to sort through, but it's good fun during Christmas.

"There's a good atmosphere and some people, like me, will stick on a Christmas hat and jumpers or stuff.''

Ms Addison may sort other people's post every day but she still needs to work or her own timings for Christmas deliveries.

She joked: "I've sent most of mine (cards) but I'm probably quite bad for it, you'd think I would know better working in here. It must be all the extra hours I'm doing.''