Postal Strikes will Lose Small Firms Customers
Postal workers must reach a rapid agreement with Royal Mail to end strike action across the UK, as the strikes may cause small firms to lose customers, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.
Thousands of postal workers have gone on strike across the UK, after disagreements over the modernisation of the postal service, including job cuts and a reduction in services.
FSB spokeswoman, Prue Watson, warned that the strikes could cause lasting damage to small businesses, many of which rely on Royal Mail’s postal services to deliver supplies and invoice customers.
“Small firms are at risk of losing customers due to the postal strikes, because they won’t be able to deliver what their customers need in time,” she said. “In addition, as cashflow and late payments are such key issues for small firms, these will become even more of a problem as the strike will delay invoices and that could damage their cashflow at a crucial time.”
The strike is scheduled to come to an end but the Commercial Workers’ Union (CWU) has warned there is risk of further strikes within the next three months unless Royal Mail agrees to “meaningful negotiations”.
CWU spokesman, Kevin Slocombe, apologised for the disruption caused to small firms but said that the strikes could benefit them in the long term, by reducing the cost of Royal Mail’s services.
“The FSB should support the CWU, as small businesses will suffer if the Royal Mail framework continues to roll out as it is,” he said. “Our plans include protecting the universal service, which allows firms sending mail to any address in the UK to send it at the same price. If the universal service is scrapped, which has been proposed, that could have a major impact on postage costs for small firms.”
Royal Mail’s operations director, Paul Tolhurst, said:
“The CWU agreed with us at the end of July a timetable for further talks on change and modernisation, yet they now announce a national strike ballot – their behaviour beggars belief.”