Royal Mail: The Entrepreneurs Strike Back?
Royal Mail’s recent strike action has caused a wave of anger among the UK’s small business community – and many are now voting with their feet by turning to alternative delivery methods.
And with Royal Mail on strike again this week, the company is set to receive yet more bad press as criticisms continue to flood the news headlines.
Politicians Lord Mandelson and David Cameron have condemned their handling of the situation, labelling it as “totally self-defeating” and “an appalling display of weakness”.
In a recent statement in relation to the Royal Mail dispute, Lord Mandelson said:
“No one is in doubt about the damage such industrial action will cause,” adding, “In other words, if it stands still, this company faces terminal decline.”
Mandelson states that the strikes are “totally self-defeating”, and claims that small businesses now face further struggle as a result of the company’s actions.
“Royal Mail’s small business customers will look on with anger and exasperation. Just as there are signs of the economy recovering and the prospects for their businesses are improving, strikes now will set them back and put their businesses in jeopardy.”
Commenting on a BBC News forum, Graham Rubin, who runs a mail order business in Liverpool, compares such action to being “held to ransom”, and is one of many other businesses in the UK who have turned to alternative solutions.
“I have just stopped a contract with Royal Mail for over ┬ú1 million pounds,” says Rubin, “and I will not return to them. I believe it is time to allow their competitors to take over the “final mile” and deliver the post to the doorstep.”
Speaking to Real Business, Stefan Foryszewski of OB10 agrees that the strike will cause serious problems for the UK’s small businesses.
“Not only has your business got to deal with the likelihood that invoices may not arrive but also that your customers’ payments are going to be late, lost among the millions of letters held up in warehouses.”
He adds, “Over the past few weeks we’ve seen big companies, such as Amazon and John Lewis, turn their backs on the Royal Mail – they can afford to do that. Small businesses on the other hand, and those who are most likely to suffer from a number of late payments, cannot easily avoid using such services.”
Alternative delivery companies are one popular method of beating the strikes. But some SMEs are also turning to other means such as electronic invoicing, online payment systems, and are even reverting to fax machines to keep their business going.