CONCERN is growing among businesses about the impact of a possible post strike.
Postal workers – 272 out of 450 in total – have until next Wednesday (March 16) to vote on strike action after pay talks between Post Office management and the Communication Workers’ Union failed.
Rachel Stanley, owner of Cupid Lingerie Limited, based in Onchan, operates solely online under Cupidlingerie.co.uk
She said: ‘Almost all of our business is from outside the island and we rely entirely on the postal service to deliver our goods to our customers.
‘Today’s customer expects goods to be despatched the next day and to receive them promptly.
‘We specialise in lingerie solutions and luxury brands, so customers very often have a deadline for receiving their orders, which are usually required for a particular event or date.
‘We will undoubtedly lose customers if we cannot guarantee prompt delivery. Other online retailers are likely to be similarly affected.’
She said: ‘The island is promoting online trading – it is a growth area and helps to bring money into the island – and disruption to the postal service can only be detrimental to that and harmful to the economy.’
ArtworkX of Mann managing director Roberto Edmanson-Harrison said he has already put contingency plans into place to limit the impact of a strike.
He said: ‘I am a bit anxious about the possible postal strike and the upset to my business, www.artworkxofmann.com and our new shopping outlet called The Art Market, located within the Strand Shopping Centre, Douglas.
‘Both businesses are reliant on the postal service to a degree and if the workers strike, it would mean that, delivery off island would become more costly to us.
‘We would then become almost solely reliant on courier firms for delivery.’
He added: ‘As a contingency to prevent disruptions to our customers in respect to our printed artwork images, I have linked up with printing firms in the UK and USA, who can now print on demand any of our artwork images.
‘This means that, there should be little or no delays to our off-island print orders.’
He added: ‘I can understand and sympathise with the postal workers, but they should recognise that, these are difficult financial times for everyone. By striking or threatening to strike they are creating a difficulty for some businesses, which may have far reaching consequences and may even threaten the very livelihood of some.’
Andrea Warrilow, of Sulby based Flotsam Jewellery, which sources jewellery from around the world to sell at fairs, in the Strand Shopping Centre, and online at isleofmanjewellery.com said the impact of a strike on her business would depend on its duration.
She said: ‘All my stock comes in via the Post Office. The most immediate impact would be on my stock coming in.
‘If I haven’t got it, I can’t sell it.’
She added: ‘I’m waiting to see what happens. I have a feeling that whatever I feel it’s not going to change it.’
Lee Watson, co-owner of Extreme Arts & Gadgets, based in Duke Street, Douglas, said the biggest impact on the business would be on its eBay sales of TT memorabilia, mostly pictures.
He said the business promised delivery within 24 hours – so any delay could lead to customers leaving negative feedback, which would have a ‘knock-on effect’ on sales.
He said it was Chief Minister Tony Brown’s responsibility to try to resolve the strike.
‘Does he not think to look at the bigger picture and look at how it would affect people in the Isle of Man?’ he said.
‘If we’re paying him to look after the Isle of Man and he’s not willing to it, get out and get someone who is.’
Mr Brown has refused to intervene in the row, despite CWU assistant secretary Terry Pullinger saying he would welcome his help.