Foxes and rats have been seen gnawing at mountains of Christmas presents outside Royal Mail depots as staff go on strike.
Thousands of undelivered items were left in containers outside the Royal Mail depot in Filton, Bristol.
Sources claim foxes and rats have been chewing through the packages, which have been left piled up exposed to the grim winter. One fox was pictured at the site.
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One member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said: “The packages have now attracted rats and other animals, including a fox.”
While a CWU official said: “Things are being left out in the open at Bristol Mail Centre and I believe it’s the case that vermin and other animals are having a go.”
But attempts to protect the packages by covering them have been ridiculed.
One worker claimed that “it would have to be the biggest tarpaulin in the world as everything has been ruined”.
The CWU, which represents 115,000 postal workers, started a 48-hour strike on Wednesday. Further action is scheduled for December 23 and 24.
The final posting dates for festive cards has already been brought forward by Royal Mail.
It has insisted parcels at the Filton site are moving “very quickly” through the depot and “on to the next stage in their journey”.
However, CWU Bristol branch secretary Ben Watts claimed the backlog will take “at least” a month to clear.
He added: “When Royal Mail says ‘everything is okay’ it’s absolutely not true.
“The work’s coming in, they’re onloading it but there’s nowhere to put it.
“A postie who works at the centre described it like a game of Tetris.
“They end up taking all the work from outside and in the middle, the work that’s been there for days and weeks just stays there and you only just keep attacking the work on the outside.”
It comes as union leaders warn Prime Minister Rishi Sunak they will use “all our might” for “decent pay rises” as the latest official figures show inflation is still in double digits.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows it eased slightly last month to 10.7% from October’s 41-year high of 11.1%.
But it means millions of us are facing a “bleak midwinter” with the Government “essentially calling for a national pay cut” as wages trail behind price surges, they claim.
Unite boss Sharon Graham said: “Families and communities are being set up to pay the price of a crisis not of their making.
“Different choices can and must be made.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We are doing all we can to deliver Christmas for our customers and minimise the impact of damaging industrial action.
“The CWU is striking at our busiest time, holding Christmas to ransom for our customers, businesses and families across the country.”
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