Postal strikes cost small businesses ┬ú300 each
The Federation of Small Businesses estimate that between 70% and 80% of the 4.8 million small businesses in the UK rely on Royal Mail for delivery of post, and this latest strike action had caused problems for items such as invoices, as well as products bought online.
FSB chairman John Wright says:
“The loss and damage of post can have a devastating impact on small firms which, in the worst case, lose trade and clients because items don’t arrive on time,” adding, “At a time when small businesses are cutting costs and doing all they can to keep afloat during the recession, the postal strikes can have a disastrous impact on their cash flow.”
According to the Birmingham Post, many small businesses are choosing alternative delivery methods, such as entrepreneur Dean Winsbury:
“We have signed a contract with DHL to use their at home service. It’s just not tenable for us not to have a delivery service,” adding, “over the past few weeks with the wildcat strikes we have had very bad services.”
Winsbury continues: “Luckily there were no problems for us changing over because we had already started talking to DHL when this started. We got hit hard by the strikes last year and we had a fairly good idea something like this would be happening again.”
However alternative methods can be costly, which causes yet more problems for small firms. Many businesses are being encouraged to set up online payment methods to help reduce the need for cheques sent through the post.
Charities are also due to lose out heavily as a result of Royal Mail workers’ actions. The Evesham Journal reports that county council chairman Peter Barnes has written to Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union to try to help resolve the situation. Part of his communication reads:
“It has been reported that charities would stand to lose ┬ú50 million as a result with a single example being the Countryfile calendar which raises money for Children in Need. Due to the calendar not being delivered it’s likely that they will miss out on ┬ú400,000 of charitable donations.”
However for some businesses, the strike action is welcomed. In a report by This is Money, Tracy Hoather, manager of Same Day – a private delivery and courier company based in Cheshire – has seen a significant boost in business:
“When there is a strike we do see a lift in business, though the companies that really see a big boost are those doing next-day deliveries.”
Small Business and Business Link have teamed up to help small firms get through the strike action – visit their web page ‘Don’t get hit by the postal strikes‘ for advice and guidance.