09:31 07 August 2009
Thought to be the worst strike in two years, postal services will see 30,000 of its workers walk out in protest of cuts to jobs, services and pay.
The action, starting on Friday August 7 will allegedly last five days. Union leaders are set to ballot for a national strike, meaning that potentially hundreds of thousands more could join the wave come October.
As the strikes surge across the UK, don't despair. There are other alternatives to get that important letter or package to its receiver on time.
Use a private service
There are over a dozen professional alternatives to using the Royal Mail to be found within the link below. The government and the BBC are examples of companies that use private couriers.
But most firms use the Royal Mail's depots and/or postal delivery workers, so are also crippled by the strike. Those who aren't may only take big orders so letters could be out of the question. Find alternative services at: http://www.psc.gov.uk/about-the-mail-market.html
While an email is not sufficient legal proof that something has been sent, a fax is. These were incredibly popular in the early 90s, they're reliable and are an effective way of getting mail officially sent during this strike.
Use a courier service
Many couriers offer a same or next day service. However even this option isn't guaranteed as couriers have become flooded with extra business since the strikes so they may not even take on extra work.
Hail a taxi or jump onto some public transport
This is always an option but it takes time, and potentially a lot of money if the taxi driver is the scenery loving type.
Entrust your important mail to a skilled pigeon
Carrier pigeons are an age old tradition. They're also incredibly unlikely to come together and strike. Having said that, they don't control 99% of the nations post like the Royal Mail do.
Pigeons, will however dodge bombs, break through enemy lines and not rebel against their treatment. Much like the real thing, however, their reliability is called into question.
Send it by "solicitor mail"
The legal network used to use its own closed mail system, known as DX, which set out to provide a more reliable overnight delivery service. Today, DX is just one of several rivals to the Royal Mail.
According to Postcomm - the postal watchdog - it's the only one that operates completely independently of the normal mail for small delivery loads. It will even deliver just one letter, under its premium "secure" service.
The drawback is that it won't deliver to your door. Instead, it has 4,500 drop-off and pick up points across the country - many in the foyers of solicitors' offices. Drop a letter off by 18:30 and it promises to deliver it to any other box by 09:30 the following morning.
Ask a favour from an office co-worker
If you're far too busy and the mail is vastly important, slip a friend £20 and get someone else to do it. Office interns may enjoy a break from making the tea and fixing the printer.
Do it yourself
You're the only person you can really rely on.
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