Royal Mail was dealt a bitter blow last night as the online retailer Amazon withdrew its contract with the service, fearing a series of strikes that could hamper parcel deliveries in the run-up to Christmas.
News of the decision emerged less than 24-hours before the results of a closely-guarded ballot of 121,000 staff are due to be announced this afternoo. Sources at the Communication Workers Union suggest strike action is highly likely, with exit polls showing up to 70 per cent of postal workers backing the call for industrial action.
Members of the CWU oppose the Royal Mail's modernisation programme and are widely expected to escalate a series of stoppages that have hindered service in more than 230 Royal Mail facilities around the country over the past three months.
But it is the timing of the latest proposed strike action that is understood to have motivated Amazon to terminate its contract with the postal service. If the strikes are given the go-ahead today, Christmas presents which are ordered online or from a catalogue could see serious interruptions to their supply chain.