115,000 postal workers are set to strike again this Tuesday, the 25th October, bringing even more misery on small businesses struggling to survive with ever increasing costs and an audience of consumers with constrained spending placing fewer order. There is a glimmer of good news however, as the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has agreed to enter into talks today with Royal Mail through ACAS.
Following an invitation from ACAS, Royal Mail and CWU have agreed to jointly engage with ACAS facilitation in an attempt to resolve the current disputes on Pay and Change. There is a commitment on both sides to reach a resolution however we all acknowledge there are significant difficulties to overcome.
An opening session will now take place on Tuesday 25th October with the objective to reach an agreed approach for further facilitated talks.– Joint statement agreed by all parties from Royal Mail, the CWU and ACAS
Regardless of the good news of arbitration, the CWU aren’t calling off the strikes with CWU General Secretary Dave Ward saying: “We welcome the mutual agreement to attend ACAS discussions as a positive development, but at this stage, it is not a greatly significant one either”.
The Union’s attitude isn’t really surprising, as Royal Mail upped the stakes promising 10,000 jobs will be lost and the icing on the cake… the company says they can no longer afford generous redundancy so anyone laid off won’t be getting much of a pay off.
Plus the Union knows that the minute the strikes end and Royal Mail turns even a small profit, the Board is likely to spin off GLS leaving a currently loss making Royal Mail to fend for itself.
The big concern is that Royal Mail are bleeding not just money but also customers. Many businesses have deserted Royal Mail and will never return. The new phrase they describe themselves as is “A parcel company that also delivers letters” and without a parcel business they are on a downward spiral to oblivion, probably to leave the Government to pick up the pieces of the Universal Service.
It’s unfortunate, but if your business is still relying on Royal Mail to deliver to your customers, you should take a look at the upcoming schedule of strike days and then pick an alternative carrier to set up an account with before they are all too busy to take on new custom.