TYNEDALE postal workers have criticised Royal Mail for failing to protect workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The workers, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Courant that staff are going about their day-to-day service without any protective clothing or equipment.

“As it stands, we are key workers and we are out in public every day,” one said.

“Royal Mail is not providing its staff with any protection in terms of clothing or equipment.

“We are trying to keep a two metre distance with no protective equipment while there are 40 of us working in one office. You can imagine how difficult that is.

“The staff are scared and Royal Mail doesn’t seem to care. It is not listening to us."

It was also claimed that Hexham Sorting Office currently had around 50 per cent of its staff off ill, which meant not all deliveries were being made.

One worker, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: "On a normal day, every single letter and parcel would be out of the office.

"But now there are full frames and full deliveries that aren't going out.

"That means there's whole villages and parts of Tynedale that aren't getting their mail on particular days.

"We're struggling and we're scared."

According to one worker, Royal Mail was putting its staff and the general public at risk after failing to issue protective equipment.

“I cover about 30 miles a day and that is part town and part rural areas, including large estates and streets with lots of houses,” the worker added.

“I have had to say bye to my partner and parents for 12 weeks as I am putting myself at risk on a daily basis.

“Royal Mail said it is looking into getting us protective equipment but the virus is here now.”

Another worker added: "We have had people in tears in the office and a few workers have walked out."

Shane O’Riordain, managing director of marketing, regulation and corporate affairs at Royal Mail, said the postal service took the health and safety of its colleagues, customers and communities very seriously.

He said: “From Tuesday, we have introduced a range of new social distancing measures aimed at offering further protection for our colleagues.

“Standard ways of working are being revised to ensure that, wherever possible, colleagues stay two metres apart.

“These actions form part of a package of measures being taken by Royal Mail to protect both its customers and its colleagues."