THIS month’s postal strikes could permanently damage Royal Mail as their rivals do a ‘fabulous job’ to keep vital post on the move, says a leading Huddersfield businessman.
Steven Leigh, senior policy adviser at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the dispute was forcing businesses to seek other ways of delivering mail.
He said: “Everybody has to find alternative ways of doing business and I think it will permanently damage the Royal Mail’s prospects for survival when all their competitors are doing their utmost to do a fabulous job.
“There’s a great danger that each time action takes place more and more customers will look elsewhere.”
Talks between Royal Mail and the main postal workers’ union took place yesterday in a bid to head off further official action following more than a week of official and unofficial strikes.
Walkouts are planned by Communication Workers’ Union members in different departments every day from Monday to Thursday next week.
The discussions took place as wildcat strikes continued at various locations.
Mr Leigh said there was widespread concern at the way the dispute had been handled.
And he criticised Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier for intervening late in the day.
“This is very costly to business because we have to get invoices out and money in and it’s delaying the whole process,’’ said Mr Leigh.
“The really disappointing thing is that Royal Mail management and employees have failed to sort this out. They can only be losers in this.
“People are getting thoroughly fed up and disillusioned because no-one can depend on the service.
“The fact that Adam Crozier only got involved on Thursday is desperately disappointing.
“If he has more important things to do than bring an end to the strike I’d like to know what they are.”
Mr Leigh’s comments were echoed by the Institute of Directors.
Its Yorkshire and Humber chairman, Nimble Thompson, said: “The longer this dispute goes on more and more companies will permanently shift their business away from Royal Mail.
“All businesses face the constant challenge of reform and the Royal Mail is a clear example of an organisation which, if it fails to reform, will be overtaken by the competition.”