Postal Strikes “devastating” for Small Firms
The nationwide postal strikes scheduled to take place on 22nd and 23rd October will have a “devastating” impact on small firms, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.
A number of localised postal strikes have taken place throughout recent months, in response to a dispute about pay and working conditions for postal workers, and disagreements over the modernisation of the postal service.
However, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which organises the strike action, has now announced plans for nationwide strikes to take place on 22nd and 23rd October in response to Royal Mail’s rejection of its demands.
According to research from the FSB, 80% of small businesses use the Post Office to send mail and carry out other business transactions.
“Small firms may suffer delays and lost trade as they often rely on Royal Mail to deliver products to customers, and to receive invoices and cheques,”
said FSB chairman, John Wright.
“The loss and damage of post can have a devastating impact on small firms which, in the worst case, lose trade and clients because items don’t arrive on time — sometimes up to three weeks late. At a time when small businesses are cutting costs and doing all they can to keep afloat during the recession, the postal strikes can have a disastrous impact on their cashflow.
“Small businesses find it difficult to find an alternative carrier to Royal Mail because of their smaller mailing volumes. A lot of small firms will go with other couriers, but that will eat into their cashflow which is very damaging.”
CWU deputy general secretary, Dave Ward, said that the union made a genuine offer to Royal Mail that would have given space for detailed discussions without a strike.
“We are severely disappointed that within two or three hours the company rejected it, apparently without even affording it proper consideration,” he said.
The CWU said that talks are continuing and if Royal Mail reconsiders the offer, strike action could be avoided. The union also called on the Government to intervene, as the sole shareholder of Royal Mail.