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News - 10 June 2007

Mail strike must be stopped, say small businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today warned that a postal strike would severely damage the UK economy. The FSB also called on both sides in the Royal Mail dispute to meet as soon as possible to avert any postal strikes. This follows the Communications Workers Union (CWU) announcing today that their members working for the Royal Mail would take industrial action in the near future.

The FSB also asked the Government to intervene to prevent the strike if an agreement could not be reached between Royal Mail bosses and the union. This is because the stoppage would have a disastrous effect on small businesses - and in turn the whole British economy. Small firms contribute 50% of UK GDP and trade with Government Departments and large firms further up the supply chain where the knock-on effect would also be felt.

The FSB advised all small businesses to be aware of any potential strike days so that they can make arrangements to send mail earlier or make allowances in their cash flow for the late arrival of cheques.

Clive Davenport, FSB Trade and Industry Chairman, said, "A lengthy postal strike could be devastating for small businesses. Our survey on the postal service showed that eighty eight per cent of small firms send mail every day and ninety four per cent of small businesses use Royal Mail exclusively.

"Small businesses would be hardest hit by this dispute. They employ over half of the private sector workforce in the UK and are totally reliant on the Royal Mail. Other mail providers do not offer an alternative to small firms because of their size. A cheque delayed in the post can mean the difference between life and death for a small business, which means that this strike cannot be allowed to go ahead.

"We call on both sides in this dispute to reach an agreement to prevent the strike. If they cannot agree then the Department of Trade and Industry must step in to prevent the work stoppage. A strike would have a huge negative impact on the UK economy and the Government should not sit back and allow that to happen."

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