Strike action is set to begin on the 22 October unless the Royal Mail negotiates on the list of “compromises” issued by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) this week aimed at averting any strike action.
A spokesman for the Royal Mail says it “continues to review its marketing activities in light of industrial action by the union, which is causing disruption to some customers”.
The CWU has written to the Royal Mail with a list of requirements that it hopes will “help restore customer confidence at a crucial time for the Royal Mail while addressing outstanding problems of job security, work levels, bullying and reward”.
The Royal Mail spokesman says it is “disappointed” that CWU “continues to threaten customers with national strike action and still fails to honour repeated offers to call off all strikes.”
The proposed strike has prompted retailers including John Lewis, Amazon, eBay and Argos to discuss using alternative delivery services over fears that the strike will seriously disrupt business in the run-up to Christmas.
Research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research for Kelkoo estimates that a nationwide strike could cost UK businesses £1.5bn in lost revenues, with the cost to the retail sector about £270m.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned the recent upturn in online and mail-order sales of non-food goods could be reversed by the planned industrial strikes.
Sharon Hardiman, head of non-store retailing at the BRC, says “Online’s slice of overall Christmas spending hinges heavily on customers being sure retailers can get the goods to them. Online shopping is a big source of growth for Royal Mail. We all need common sense to prevail quickly.”