Currys drops Royal Mail ‘for now’ as strikes threaten deliveries | Retail business

Electrical appliance retailer Currys has revealed it has stopped Royal Mail from making deliveries ‘for now’ due to the strike.

Currys chief executive Alex Baldock said his first responsibility was to “UK households who want to get their hands on their tech, especially at this time of year”.

Royal Mail faces six days of strikes this month, including Christmas Eve. On Friday, he told the public to send his cards and gifts even earlier than usual if he wanted them to arrive on time.

Baldock said of the decision to stop using Royal Mail as a delivery provider for the time being: ‘There is no major operational drama for us. We plan for this stuff all the time. There are relatively few smaller parcels that we deliver via Royal Mail [and] they are easily switchable to another provider.

He told the BBC’s Sunday program with Laura Kuenssberg: “The most important point here is that, on the one hand, we see clearly with our own colleagues and our own customers up close, the impact of cost of living crisis which is obviously at the origin of these strikes.

“On the other hand, it does not help when our colleagues cannot come to work. It doesn’t help when we can’t deliver products to customers, and of course an inflationary wage and price spiral will just make things worse for everyone for longer.

Members of the Communications Workers Union, which represents more than 115,000 postal workers, have already staged a 12-day strike in an increasingly bitter and protracted dispute with management over pay and conditions, with further stoppages planned December 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24.

Royal Mail said the deadline for second class deliveries was December 12, while for first class it was December 16. At the same time, delivery times to international destinations have been brought forward.

Currys is one of many large retailers that have been forced to repeatedly raise wages in response to chronic staff shortages and soaring inflation.

Baldock told the BBC program that his staff had received a 16 per cent pay rise over the past year, above the rate of inflation, because “we need to retain and motivate a workforce “, and it is “the price we pay for good Talent”.

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