You wont have failed to notice over the past few months the bitter war of words between The Royal Mail and the CWU (Communication Workers Union). Today sees the next part of this fiasco unfold as it seems that a national strike could take place as early as the 22nd of October!
Royal Mail DOES need to modernise!
Working in smaller type businesses as I do regularly just now i’ve gotten to see first hand the deterioration in service from Royal Mail and i’ve lost count of the number of times where recorded delivery items dont get delivered. From a purely business perspective I think it’s obvious that Royal Mail does need to modernise and change with the times.
Could this strike be counter-productive?
This hurts businesses in a couple of ways. In terms of sending items it means they have to look at alternative providers of mail services. The irony here of course is that these strikes will I suspect lead to Royal Mail losing a great deal of business. Once businesses realise that there are other alternatives out there I think it will be very difficult to try and persuade them to revert back.
The bigger problem for businesses I see is that while they can control how they send their own post they cant control how their suppliers and customers send theirs and this obviously has very severe repercussions for example on business who depend on their customers paying them by cheque.
I think it’s fair to say that the wildcat strikes over the past few months have already been affecting businesses and I think to a certain extent some businesses are using it as a tactic to delay payments etc (sad but I suspect true!)
Take steps to try and minimise the impact on your business
If you’re a small business who does rely heavily on the postal service to receive cheques etc then I would suggest that you contact your customers to discuss alternative payment arrnagements. Cheques are kind of old hat these days and most should be able to make electronic payments without too much hassle. I would be paying very close attention to any customers who are trying to push back on this. I would concede that in a small number of cases there may be legitimate reasons for not being able to accomodate your request but if this is the case then potentially looking at whether cheques could be picked up etc may be practical (depending on the location).
These strikes aren’t definite yet but given they could start in just over a week I think it helps to have a plan in place just in case the worst happens.