Small businesses are set to lose up to £5,000 in orders if the ongoing postal strike is not resolved, the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland has warned.
Half of small firms are already considering abandoning Royal Mail as the second wave of national postal strikes get under way today.
A survey of over 1,200 small businesses found that 46% estimate the postal strikes could cost them between £500 and £5,000.
In the run-up to Christmas, one of the most crucial times of year for a small business owner, 42% said that they will lose trade and 40% said that their business reputation will be damaged.
The FSB is today urging Royal Mail management and the Communications Workers Union to reach an agreement as soon as possible so small firms can get back to business.
Wilfred Mitchell, Federation of Small Businesses policy chairman, said: “National postal strikes have a devastating impact on already struggling small businesses.
“The wildcat strikes across the regions have already cost small firms dearly, with many predicting the cost to their business reaching several hundred pounds, but these national strikes are having a much more damaging impact.”
He added: “FSB research shows that more than half of small firms rely on Royal Mail to send over 80% of their business post. Small firms rely on Royal Mail to send their business post. But they are caught in a classic Catch-22 situation with many considering deserting Royal Mail because the service is unreliable, but at the same time are unable to afford alternative carriers.
“The FSB is urging both sides to come to an agreement immediately.”
Despite a series of talks no agreement has yet been reached in the Royal Mail/CWU stand-off and three days of further strikes are planned for today, tomorrow and Saturday.