The news provides welcome respite for SMEs over the Christmas period. Normal service is set to resume. But is this a case of too little too late for many entrepreneurs, who have already found alternate carriers for their post?
John Ellen, CEO of NetDirectDeals.co.uk, says, “The industrial action from Royal Mail no doubt has caused major inconveniences to the day to day running of our business. We have a greater amount of support tickets from concerned customers we have to deal with, as well as the threat of negative feedback for delays in deliveries being posted to our Amazon or eBay selling profiles.
"We are starting to use other independent couriers for larger items and no doubt we will use these more frequently in the future if more industrial action follows. As a mail-order business, we cannot be at the mercy of Royal Mail; we need to use alternative carriers where possible to avoid delayed deliveries.”
Nina Dar, former director of national delivery company Amtrak Express Parcels and MD of Cheeky Monkey Business Solutions, says that the brief cessasion of strikes is too little too late: "The constant threat of strike action, especially as they approach the busy Christmas period can only be compared to a ritual of self-harm. “The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has agreed that change is necessary and, in short, they would like job security; no redundancies; higher pay; shorter working week; more quality time and more say in job roles. Unfortunately, the reality is there will be a price to pay for modernisation whether that is job cuts due to automation, higher prices to customers or privatisation."
Nevertheless, the suspension of strikes will bring peace of mind to many small business, especially eTailers, in the run up to Christmas.
Royal Mail managing director Mark Higson says he now looks forward "to positive and constructive discussions on the next stage of Royal Mail’s modernisation plan".
He continues: "I’m delighted for our customers and our people that we’ve got back to a sensible agreement with the CWU that will allow us to deliver a great Christmas while getting on with the vital talks about the longer term future of Royal Mail."
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