Delivery Update - industrial action and more

By Paul McKay

Update from Royal Mail 20th Dec:

"We admit that despite our contingency plans at the end of November/start of December parcel volumes are at their peak, and this has caused a significant delay to the processing of a number of items posted during this period.  Our intention is always to process items in the order we receive them and in accordance with the product/service specification. However, the impact of strike action when we are managing high volumes means not all items have been processed and delivered in order.  As a result, you may be experiencing some items being delivered out of sequence as we move parcels around our network for processing in order to recover our services as quickly as we can. More items from this period are being processed every day. We expect that to continue and for them to be delivered in the coming days.

When an item shows as 'we are expecting it' it has been collected by us but not yet scanned in at our mail centre and is likely queued for this to happen."



Summary: while 90-95% of Royal Mail parcels are being delivered as expected, that leaves 5-10% of orders that may be delayed by up to three weeks.

There are also a significant number of orders where Royal Mail has not updated the tracking information, and is suggesting that they 'are still awaiting the seller to hand over the parcel'. This is not true. The moment you receive a shipping confirmation email from us is the moment we hand your order over to the courier.

We have escalated both these issues with our contacts at Royal Mail, who acknowledge that the tracking system is wrong, and are working to get it fixed.  Most of the seriously affected orders date from the week 28th Nov - 4th Dec, but not all.

In the meantime we apologise for any inconvenience and beg for your patience as we work through. Please note that we have added a DPD option at checkout for you to use an alternative courier as required.




There is an ongoing industrial dispute between Royal Mail and their workers that is causing significant disruption to deliveries with Royal Mail. You can read the details on their website here

It's worth saying upfront that as an accredited Living Wage employer (more details here) we are fully supportive of the fight for ALL workers to receive a fair compensation for the work they do.

At the same time we are mindful that our customers expect their analogue goodies to be delivered in a timely manner, especially at this time of year. So we are trying to map our way through this period in a way that supports the postal workers while offering options for those customers looking for guaranteed time deliveries.


How does the Royal Mail action impact AW orders?

We use Royal Mail services for most of our deliveries. They offer an excellent quality service, delivery percentage is unbeatable, and the environmental footprint is the best amongst all UK couriers for small parcels and envelopes.

We have tried to work around the strike dates as much as possible, but particularly since Black Friday our customers are experiencing unpredictable delays to orders.

We are dispatching from our warehouse as promptly as usual (within 1-2 working days), but you may notice that tracking numbers do not update and/or your parcel takes longer to arrive than predicted.

We have also seen several instances where the Royal Mail tracking system claims that we haven't sent your parcel to them yet - this is incorrect. As soon as you get a shipping confirmation email from us, that means we've handed the parcel to Royal Mail.

Unfortunately we are not given any more information than is viewable via your tracking number.


What are we doing?

We are co-ordinating with our local posties to make sure that they arrive with enough space in their vans for ALL parcels, the day after any strike action has taken place. This means that we are providing them with everything they need to catch up with AW deliveries as soon as possible.

We have also added another shipping option to our website with DPD. This is an Express service (tracked 24-48 hour delivery) that uses their couriers. We recommend using this service for any urgent orders whilst Royal Mail are striking, and if you're concerned about missing an important date.

With all our services you will get email confirmation when your order has been handed over, you will get a tracking number and if is too big for a letterbox you will get options for leaving in a safe space or with a neighbour.


Last Order Dates for Christmas

This is moving round at the moment, but at present we are advising:

  • Orders sent via Standard Royal Mail - must be placed by Monday 12th December
  • Orders sent via Premium Royal Mail - must be placed by Friday 16th December
  • Orders sent via DPD Express - must be placed by Monday 19th December


Thank you for your support and understanding,
- Paul and the AW team

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