In today’s world, business is dependent on reliable mail service, but the Internet has made inroads. Prior to the Internet, however, mail was sometimes delayed by postal employee strikes. Although barred from striking, the ban has little effect when workers feel the government has not adhered to contract terms. Fortunately, Postal strikes are rare due to the dedication of the employees. When they happen, things become messy in a hurry. On 27 April1992, An Post suspended 550 workers, and the remainder went on strike. To move vital mail, an emergency service was established by private companies which sent mail by courier on the train to Belfast where the mail was posted. This service cost £1. (Figure 1). About 1000 letters were sent. Other courier services used rubber stamps to mark mail. (Figure 2) The strike finished on 25 May, but the backlog was not completely cleared until August.
The Royal Mail also has had its share of strikes. During a major strike in 1971, a number of courier companies competed to transfer mail to the Continent and the US by sea and air. One company even created a "First Day of Issue" to attract collectors. (Figure 3). Some companies were quite innovative and produced interesting stamps for their service. (Figure 4).