Royal Mail Strike – November 4th 2013, how to prepare

This week the CWU have confirmed that they will go on strike on November 4th for 24 hours.

Talks are continuing so the strike may yet be called off – but in the meantime what should you be doing to prepare?

What affect will the Royal Mail strike have?

Well, it means that on the 4th November we have to assume no Royal Mail collections or deliveries will take place, and no sorting will go on either.

That means there will be a backlog to clear after the 4th November. After previous strikes it has taken some time to clear that backlog, and the usual method is that the most recent post gets moved first.

Let me explain – imagine a very big warehouse which only has a door at the front. On the 4th November all the post gets piled into the warehouse – starting at the back and moving forwards towards the door. On the 5th November they start working on that days post, ignoring the warehouse. If there’s any time/capacity left at the end of the day they’ll starting working on what’s in the warehouse. And repeat on the 6th, 7th etc.

So, it will take a long time before the post at the back of the warehouse get’s delivered. All that means that you don’t want anything of yours getting stuck in the strike warehouse – not anything customers have bought from you, nor any marketing you’re sending to them.

What to do with customer orders?

There’s 2 sides to this. First you want to make sure your customers get their orders, then you want to reassure your customers that everything will be delivered ok.

Make sure you have alternative couriers in place for the days leading up to the strike, and have a big notice on the site to reassure customers that the strike will have no impact on their orders.

What to do with marketing activity?

Just make sure that nothing you’re sending out is due to land on the 4th. Speak to your mailing house / postage service and see what they advise.

With a bit of careful planning the strike shouldn’t have too much of an effect on your business.