Direct mail industry braced for postal chaos

The direct mail industry is expected to be hit by months of postal chaos following the Communications Workers Union’s decision to stage the first national strike in more than a decade.

Many of the UK’s top brands, including those operating in home shopping, financial services and charities, as well as heavyweight campaigns by TV rivals BSkyB and Virgin Media, are reliant on Royal Mail, not only for direct mail but also for transactional post.

Chief executive Adam Crozier says Royal Mail will continue to try to resolve the dispute. “We remain willing to sit down with the CWU to explain again the absolute need for Royal Mail to modernise,” he adds.

The first day of action is planned for this Friday, and is expected to be followed by a strike next week and another on July 9.

Royal Mail has taken out press ads in several national newspapers to explain its position. The ad says: “A strike is the last thing we want. But the issue at the heart of this dispute is change. We believe that Royal Mail has no alternative but to change and modernise, which all our major rivals did years ago.”

The dispute centres around a 2.5% pay offer and plans by Royal Mail to modernise its network by bringing in more automated sorting equipment. This will result in the workforce being cut by 40,000. Workers voted 70% in favour of a strike.

It will also hit private operators – which have secured huge swathes of Royal Mail business since privatisation – as they rely on postal workers to deliver their mail for the so-called “final mile”. Both parties are due to restart talks.

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