From Friday next week the Royal Mail Summer Strikes start and it’s time to start preparing your business for the disruption. In order to maximise the disruption, as well as Royal Mail summer strikes, the CWU have also called for Post Office strikes to marry up with the Royal Mail industrial action.
Royal Mail Summer Strikes Timetable
- Friday 26th August – 24 hour Royal Mail strike
- Friday 26th August – 24 hour full Post Office strike
- Saturday 27th August – Crown Post Office strike
- Monday 29th August – Bank Holiday
- Tuesday 30th August – Post Office Supply Chain & Admin Strike
- Wednesday 31st August – 24 hour strike
- Thursday 8th September – 24 hour strike
- Friday 9th September – 24 hour strike
This series of strikes falls around the August Bank Holiday which will cause additional delay to the ecommerce in particular and the post in general. Striking on the Friday means you’re likely to get your last collection on Thursday the 25th of August and not see another collection until Tuesday the 30th of August. Anything you do ship on the 25th is likely to simply sit in Royal Mail depots unsorted and undelivered for days. Then, just as you’ve shipped five days worth of sales into Royal Mail’s network, none of it will be delivered as they will be striking on the day everything would normally be delivered on the 31st.
If you normally ship at the Post Office, they’ll also be striking to ensure that your post is disrupted as much as possible. Whilst the Post Office strikes will mainly only impact Crown Post offices (about 114), all of the privately run Post Offices will be backed up with mail as Royal Mail won’t be collecting. And all the Post Offices in the country will be impacted when the Supply Chain & Admin workers walk out on Friday the 26th and Tuesday the 30th as they won’t be receiving deliveries of anything from Stamps to labels.
Limited options to minimise Royal Mail Summer Strikes disruption
The reality is that for parcels you have plenty of options to ship with alternative carriers, but for letters and large letters there really are no alternatives. Royal Mail have the letter post sewn up and if you are shipping low value, light weight, relatively low value, goods letters and large letters are the only economic way of delivering sales.
I’m already hearing from sellers who are considering shutting down their businesses entirely over the period of the disruption. Their particular worry is Amazon who don’t give much leeway for failure. Amazon’s attitude in previous disruption has been to tell sellers we’ve spoken to, to open an account with DPD, which is of course a fantastic service with two problems. Firstly it’s considerably more expensive then Royal Mail large letters and secondly if every seller switched their large letters to DPD the courier simply couldn’t cope with the volumes. While many view DPD as a large courier, they are no where near the size and scale of Evri or Yodel.
We’re sadly expecting more strikes to come in the Autumn – The Royal Mail summers strikes are all about getting a massive pay rise for workers. There is a considerable fight coming up after pay which will focus around working terms and conditions which the CWU are refusing to consider in conjunction with pay. This means the Union will almost certainly call more strikes as summer draws to an end and Q4 approaches.