Royal Mail workers in the UK have announced two 48-hour strikes around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a disagreement over pay and working conditions.
The Communication Worker's Union (CWU), which represents the Royal Mail, has announced that the upcoming strike action will take place on November 24th, 25th, and 30th, as well as one following action on December 1st, the BBC reports.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday - two huge online retail events that collectively comprise the busiest shopping period of the year - are set to take place on November 25th and November 28th respectively in 2022.
Like most recent industrial action in the UK, the main root cause of this Royal Mail strike is a dispute over inflationary pay rises. On Monday 31 October, Royal Mail offered union members a 9% pay rise spread over two years. The CWU described the offer as "derisory" and "a dramatic real-terms pay cut".
Royal Mail in response has urged workers not to strike at the "busiest time of the year". An official statement reads that "Royal Mail proposed a new pay-for-change offer to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219m in the first half of the year". Furthermore, it has claimed that "The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members' jobs and the future of Royal Mail.
Analysis: what this means for consumers
In short, it's too early to say right now. There's a likelihood that this dispute could be resolved by the time Black Friday comes and the initial statements haven't officially weighed in the scale or timescale of the potential disruption yet.
On the surface, these strikes could just affect next-day delivery or similar fast-track delivery options. If you're willing to be patient, then, the likelihood of a slightly longer delivery time window shouldn't cause too much disruption.
It's also important to note that many retailers often extend their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales over a wider period than just the official calendar dates. Two years of potential supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic has meant that retailers are generally more prepared for issues over the holiday season.
The real danger with this Royal Mail strike action is if it escalates further to potentially threaten last-minute Christmas shopping. The CWU has said it will be discussing further strikes for the Christmas period if an agreement can’t be reached over pay, so there’s also a risk your presents may be further held up.
Our advice for prospective shoppers is always to keep an eye out for any early Black Friday sales and make use of the myriad price match guarantees at the major retailers. Doing so will minimise any potential risk of late deliveries - and alleviate the stress of last-minute Christmas shopping.
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Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.