Britain’s cost-of-living crisis is already taking the shine off Black Friday. Now, the annual shopping bonanza faces an additional threat from strikes that could disrupt deliveries, subdue online sales and deliver another blow to the slumping economy.
Some 235,000 workers have gone on strike across the United Kingdom this week, encompassing schools, universities and the postal service. Workers are demanding better pay and working conditions as they struggle with soaring food and energy bills.
Strike action by as many as 115,000 Royal Mail staff on Thursday and Friday threatens to disrupt Black Friday sales and deliveries at a crucial time of the year for retailers.
Small businesses in particular are suffering “enormous damage” as a result of the postal strikes, as they “rely on an efficient mail service for so much of their trade,” according to a statement posted to LinkedIn and signed by Murray Lambell, eBay (EBAY) UK general manager, Martin McTague, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Michelle Ovens, founder of campaign group Small Business Britain.
Postal workers are planning further strike action for November 30 and December 1, following walkouts in August and September.
“Customers should expect delays to items posted just before, during or just after strike action,” Royal Mail said in a statement.