Royal Mail has brought forward its last-posting dates for Christmas by up to six days, blaming the impact of strike action.

First-class mail now has to be sent by Friday 16 December, five days earlier than in 2021. Second-class post has to be despatched by Monday 12 December, six days earlier than last year’s deadline of 18 December. Bulk economy mail needs to be sent by 7 December – tomorrow.

The dispute between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is set to continue in the run-up to Christmas Day, with strike days now on Friday 9 December, Sunday 11 December, Wednesday 14 December, Thursday 15 December, Friday 23 December and Saturday 24 December.

With some garment decorators still using Royal Mail for smaller orders, the strike is likely to push more work towards competitors. The last dates for dropping off or collecting parcels before Christmas this year are: Thursday 22 December for Parcelforce Express 24, DPD Next Day and DPD Pick Up; Wednesday 21 December for Parcelforce Express 48; and Tuesday 20 December for DHL Next Day.

Industrial action will also affect Parcelforce where strikes will affect collections and deliveries on Friday 9 December 2022, Sunday 11 December, Wednesday 14 December and Thursday 15 December.