Royal Mail Strike Impacting International Shipments From Small Business Merchants and Marketplace Sellers
Today is the second strike day by roughly 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers affecting mail delivery in the UK.
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In addition to mail deliveries domestically, this strike action is also impacting mail and packages arriving from other countries such as the United States.
This is potentially harming especially small businesses on online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy or their own websites that regularly service customers in the UK.
These small and micro businesses often rely on postal carriers to ship orders internationally and cannot easily shift to alternative carriers.
Unfortunately, it seems the two sides seem far apart and it doesn’t appear there is a resolution coming anytime soon as today’s statement by Royal Mail and the video posted by the union on Twitter highlight.
Royal Mail Statement on Second Strike Day
“We are losing £1 million a day and the CWU’s [union representing Royal Mail postal workers] strike action is making our situation worse. We want to protect well-paid, permanent jobs long-term and retain our place as the industry leader on pay, terms and conditions. Each strike day makes that more difficult, making Royal Mail’s future more uncertain than at any time in its long history.”
“The CWU has failed to respond to our latest invitation to meet to discuss change and pay, instead creating red herrings on the Universal Service, renationalization and shareholder activity. The CWU is deflecting to avoid talking about the changes we need to make as a business.”
“On the CWU’s first strike day, more than 850 offices were operational as we worked to minimize customer disruption and keep people, businesses and the country connected. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, teams across Royal Mail worked tirelessly to implement our recovery plans, ensuring NHS letters and critical government mailings were prioritized as we cleared the mail to return to normal service levels.”
“We need the same commitment from the CWU’s leadership to engage on change, this is the only way we can unlock more pay. Our future is as a parcels business. We must adapt old ways of working designed for letters to a world increasingly dominated by parcels and act fast. We cannot cling to outdated working practices, ignoring technological advancements and pretending that Covid has not significantly changed what the public wants from Royal Mail.”
Union Interview on Second Strike Day
International Shippers Should Consider Alternative Carriers – If Possible
Royal Mail is prioritizing critical mail over regular package deliveries during the labor action. It will certainly take a few days after each strike day for mail backlogs to be cleared.
With the uncertainty of the UK postal worker labor issue looming over the next few weeks, international small business merchants and online sellers may want to switch to alternative shipping options on urgent shipments to carriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, or DPD UK via Asendia USA, if feasible.
In addition, if shipping with the postal service (such as USPS for US-based sellers) is the only financially viable option, shippers should notify UK recipients of possible delays due to the postal worker strike.
Royal Mail has not said how long international shipments may be delayed, but shippers should anticipate about 3 to 5 additional days currently.
The next planned strike days are Thursday, September 8, and Friday, September 9, but more appear to be in the works if no resolution to the labor impasse is agreed upon by both sides.
Note: Post updated to include more shipping options with links for US shippers to send items to the UK without going through the Postal Service.
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.