France is to move to three-days-a-week letter deliveries from the start of next year as ministers in Britain resist pleas from Royal Mail to axe Saturday postal rounds.
Letters will also be delivered within three days in a major shake-up that French bosses say will reduce La Poste’s carbon footprint.
Next-day deliveries will only be available if customers email the text to La Poste, which will then print out the letter at a local branch before passing it to a postal worker.
Alongside Germany, the UK is now an outlier in Europe by sticking to a six-day-a-week letters service. Germany’s plans to reduce to a five-day-a-week service under Angela Merkel have stalled under successor Olaf Scholz.
Royal Mail is facing resistance from ministers to drop down to a five-days-a-week letters service. Saturday deliveries are a legal obligation on the FTSE 250 company, meaning any changes must be agreed by Parliament.
Under the equivalent to the UK’s “universal service obligation” – regulations that bind Royal Mail to delivering six-days-a-week – other countries have changed the law to significantly reduce postal rounds for letters.
Italy has moved to an every other day service in rural areas, Norway runs two rounds a week and Denmark only delivers standard class letters once a week.
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