Amazon has reportedly cancelled its contract for heavier parcels with Royal Mail after continued strike action threatens the online retailer’s pre-Christmas deliveries. The Guardian reports that Amazon has cancelled its long-term contract for parcels over 500 grams and will instead use rival delivery service, Home Delivery Network. Amazon is Royal Mail’s second biggest customer, and the contract for is understood to be worth at least £25m. An Amazon spokesman said it wanted “to ensure that we can continue to deliver to the high standards that our customers expect from us”. “We have not cancelled any long term contracts with the Royal Mail. They continue to be one of a number of carriers that we use. However, with the possibility of strike action in the near future, we have been working on contingency measures with our other carriers to ensure that we can continue to deliver to the high standards that our customers expect from us,” they added.
Brian Gaunt, chief executive of rival service Home Delivery Network (HDN), told The Guardian: “We are seeing a number of our customers preparing to start marketing their deliveries as free of Royal Mail risk.”
The Guardian also reports that customers of auction site eBay are also worried about strike action which they have said causes damage to small businesses that suffer negative feedback and lose their online reliability ratings.
Royal Mail workers in the Communication Workers Union are expected to vote in favour of a walkout in a bitter row over jobs, pay and services. Union members are blaming the strike action on Royal Mail’s handling of its modernisation programme and consultation over changes to working practices.
Two years ago Royal Mail lost a contract worth £8 million a year to deliver second class post for Amazon, which is one of the UK’s biggest online retailers.