Recently, Royal Mail workers have been embroiled in an ongoing industrial dispute over the pay that they receive and have since began to take strike action since August of this year. A series of staged walkouts and strike action has been going on for short periods every few weeks since August, causing severe delays and disruption to their customers by mail not being collected or delivered due to the huge backlogs of mail that builds up while they are on strike.
Whilst the focus is primarily on Royal Mail workers fighting for their rights to better pay, the lesser seen thing is how this strike action is heavily affecting small businesses by the delays being caused by the strikes. In this article, I’m going to look at the strike action in more detail, and the problems that this is creating for small businesses who are struggling to deal with the backlogs of mail and disgruntled customers that seem to be multiplying with every strike that happens.
Image Credit: Guy Smallman
A brief history on the strikes by Royal Mail Workers
The ongoing dispute over pay with Royal Mail workers have been ongoing since the beginning of this year, with workers demanding a better pay rate to match the workload and work rate that they put in. It’s been unveiled that Royal Mail bosses have received significant pay increases during their tenure with the company, and the people on the “frontline” have gone without, causing much uproar and upset.
Royal Mail workers teamed up with the Communication Workers Union to represent them in this dispute and they suggested strike action being taken if their requests were not met. Requests were not, and since August of this year, strike action by the frontline workers began to commence and happen across the country.
The strikes varied in duration from anywhere between 1-3 days, and the CWU planned for strikes to be taking place at crucial delivery times in the build up to Christmas, with the most notable ones being on the “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” weekend, the busiest weekend of the year where people shop online to buy things at a cut price deal made by retailers.
Royal Mail tabled their “final offer” prior to this offering a 9% pay increase to workers and insisted that this was their final offer, and it should be accepted. The CWU declined this offer as it was not good enough and contained a lot of terms and conditions which were not agreeable and said that strike action will still go ahead, and that it did.
How this is affecting small/new businesses
As I mentioned, the focus is on the Royal Mail workers during all this, who are simply pushing for their right to a better pay structure with the correct terms and conditions. But the ripple effect these strikes are having on the entire country is starting to get out of hand.
Small or new businesses are beginning to suffer the most with the delays in the collection and delivery of items that their customers have ordered. Some small or new businesses only offer Royal Mail as their collection and delivery option for their customers due to it being the cheaper and more reliable option when compared to other couriers in the United Kingdom, so they have no choice but to tolerate the delays faced by the strike action, but customers who do not understand the strikes are becoming disgruntled and the customer service teams of these businesses are getting the brunt of it.
To give you an example, if Royal Mail strike on a Thursday and Friday which has happened fairly frequently to cause somewhat maximum disruption, any orders made by customers from Wednesday onwards would not be collected from the business itself until the following Monday. This then has to be taken to the main depot, distributed to local sorting offices, and then sent out from there for delivery. Meaning customers could be waiting for up to a week to receive their goods they have ordered, and that’s hoping that there isn’t a continuation on the strikes the following week which has been another common thing of it happening every week.
Customers are then quick to get on to the businesses customer service team asking where what they have ordered is, when it’s completely out of the business’s hands. This can lead to tempers flaring from customers wanting what they have paid for and leaving the customer service teams to explain the Royal Mail strike process over and over to customers, which is unfair to the customer service teams to have to deal with this.
The ripple effect then continues that small businesses are losing custom to the giants of the online retail world such as Amazon, who have their own dedicated delivery team, or other companies who use other UK couriers like Evri or DPD as they can afford to pay the higher rate of collection costs compared to the affordable ones of Royal Mail.
It’s hard enough for small businesses to compete against the online behemoths, and unfortunately, the Royal Mail strikes are not helping matters and giving yet more custom to them, and less to the businesses that need it.
How the Royal Mail strikes are affecting Vape69
We always work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our customers can get what they want when it comes to vape juice, and unfortunately due to Royal Mail, we haven’t been able to fulfil our usual duty that we have to our customers for fast efficient delivery from the point of ordering to it being posted through your letter box.
We are still a relatively new name on the vaping scene when compared to the other big-time players, and we’ve worked hard to build our business up to what it is today, and it wouldn’t be possible to survive without our loyal customer base who have become used to getting high quality vape juice at a cheap price and delivered to their door fast!
We aim to make vaping as affordable and accessible to everyone during this current economic climate, but with these current strikes and delays that are occurring on a weekly basis, this means that customers may not get their nicotine fix as quick as they are used to.
We still deliver our promise of quick dispatch from the point of ordering. As we want you to get your order as soon as possible from when you order it, but please be mindful of the continuation of the Royal Mail strikes that are going to be occurring still over the festive period.
Royal Mail strikes are planned for 14, 15, 23 and 24 December 2022. We have made a table explaining all of these strikes and ordering dates for you to know when to expect your order from the point of you placing the order which you can read by clicking this link.