Posties in Market Harborough are ordered to get off their bikes for health and safety reasons
Posties in Market Harborough are angry after being told to give up their bikes for health and safety reasons.
Workers at the Royal Mail sorting office in the town have been told to switch from pedal power to vans or trolleys as they can hold more.
Management say bikes are no longer suitable as postmen and women are handling more parcels than in the past. They say bikes cannot carry as much and that they are worried about the impact of the increased weights on workers' backs.
The Harborough sorting office is the latest of four in Leicestershire to have made the change. Staff have been ordered to hand back 20 cycles.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
One postie, who did not want to be named, said: "It means staff who use Royal Mail bikes to cycle to and from work will now have to buy and use their own bikes, walk, or revert to using cars, which isn't very environmentally friendly.
"A number of posties voiced their disagreement with this policy to the management, but were told there would be no exceptions and that they must return the bikes.
"It is all about health and safety."
The postman said they now used "high capacity" trolleys to deliver mail. It means workers can carry more mail and bulkier parcels, without the need to have numerous delivery bags dropped off at various points on their deliveries.
He said: "A number of deliveries have also been 'paired-up,' which means two posties now use a van to cover two deliveries, instead of using bikes.
"But to us posties at Market Harborough, where they have invested in six new vans, it doesn't make economical or environmental sense."
Posties in Melton and at two sorting offices in Leicester – Loughborough Road and Campbell Street – have already switched.
Royal Mail spokeswoman Morag Turnbull defended the move, saying it was part of a £2 billion modernisation.
"This is part of one of the biggest transformations undertaken in UK industry and enables us to respond to changes within the postal market," she said.
"Not every sorting office is being asked to give up the bicycles. It depends on the machines and the local area.
"As we deliver fewer letters but more parcels than we did in the past, we are removing bicycles from our operations in Market Harborough.
"They are being replaced with vans and trolleys that enable us to take the weight off the shoulders of our staff and therefore deliver mail more securely and safely."