Compulsory redundancies threat sparks strike of Royal Mail support staff

From the Communications Workers Union:

cwu_logo_alWorkers responsible for distributing cash and providing vital support services to all post offices in the UK are set to walkout tomorrow (Friday).

The dispute surrounds the 1,500 employees working in the Admin and Supply Chain, who are responsible for the collection, handling and distribution of cash across the post office network.

Talks between the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Post Office Ltd over the last two weeks ended today without agreement, but the union has made it clear it remains available for further talks.

The industrial action will take place due to Post Office plans to cut jobs in the Admin and Supply Chain using compulsory redundancy. These job losses would have a significant impact on the level of service the publicly-owned company can provide in the future.

The strike could impact on the delivery of cash to the Post Office’s 11,500 branches across the UK, as well as cash deliveries to external companies.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "Unfortunately, talks with Post Office management ended today without agreement and industrial action planned for tomorrow will go ahead. Progress has been made over pay but the Post Office’s insistence that a pay deal is directly linked to compulsory redundancy of Admin and Supply Chain workers is completely unacceptable.

"This is the first time in its 400 year history that the Post Office has threatened compulsory redundancies on its workforce. It speaks volumes about the mismanagement of this important public service. The truth is Vince Cable’s decision to split the Post Office from Royal Mail two years ago, and to place the company in a financial straightjacket with no strategy for the future, has led to a spiral of managed decline and will eventually destroy the company.

"The workers distributing cash to over 11,500 Post Office branches put themselves in danger everyday in order to do their jobs and it is appalling that they have the very real threat of compulsory redundancy hanging over them. By getting rid of such a significant part of the workforce, it would be incredibly difficult for the Post Office to continue its current level of service in this area."

Read more: Media | Press Releases | Compulsory redundancies threat sparks strike.

CWU backs launch of Royal Mail’s Sunday service

Royal Mail is set to introduce a new Sunday service this week (7th September) to make it easier for shoppers to receive their parcels.

The service will be piloted this Sunday in around 100 of the busiest delivery offices across the UK and deliveries will start taking place to households within the M25.

Following discussions with Royal Mail, a trial telephone service for customers will operate from this Sunday from 9am to 2pm.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “Royal Mail employees are keen to work with the company to improve services for customers. Delivering on Sunday is an important initiative and one of the ways in which Royal Mail, with the help of its workers, is modernising.

“We’ve negotiated that staff can opt to work on Sundays voluntarily and we’ve ensured they are properly compensated. We have worked hard to make sure that Royal Mail is committed to using full and part-time staff rather than agency workers.”

Billy Hayes, UK postal union president, addresses the APWU Convention

Text of the speech by Billy Hayes, President of the Communications Workers Union (UK):

Thank you for the invitation to address your convention. A special thank you to your new President, Mark Dimondstein, for his hospitality. I am sure he will measure up to the problems you face.

I understand that your biggest campaign at the moment is against the decision of the USPS to locate counter facilities in Staples stores.

In the UK we are very familiar with such moves. Management have been transferring Crown offices facilities to WH Smith – a private retailer.

It results in fewer services and poorer working conditions. So, good luck with your campaign. Continue reading

94% say Yes to Royal Mail deal

The Communication Workers Union today (Wednesday) welcomed a resounding ‘yes’ vote from postal workers who agreed a ground-breaking deal with Royal Mail to significantly boost pay, provide extensive legally binding job security commitments, improve industrial stability and safeguard pensions.

The landmark agreement was negotiated by the CWU following members’ support in an industrial action ballot and after privatisation was confirmed.

Over 94 per cent of Royal Mail employees who voted agreed to the deal, which will see pay increase by 9.06 per cent over three years and also give workers legal protections on their terms and conditions. The single member postal ballot opened on 22nd January and concluded today (Wednesday 5th February).

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CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “We are extremely pleased to secure this ground-breaking deal with Royal Mail, which postal workers have overwhelmingly voted to accept. We have achieved extensive and unprecedented legally binding protections for employees that not only strengthen their job security but also shape the values and principles that the Royal Mail Group will operate under as a private organisation.”

“The pay deal is at the very top of the range in either the public or private sector and the commitments to legal protections and industrial stability changes the dynamic of privatisation. The agreement bucks trends in UK employment and means Royal Mail, as a private company, cannot adopt the type of employment model and practices that are undermining workers everywhere. Although we retain the right to strike, a fresh approach to industrial relations will help create industrial stability and new governance arrangements will increase CWU influence in the day to day running of the business.”

“This agreement commits Royal Mail to an agenda for growth, rather than managing decline. There will be no tolerance for a race to the bottom on services and jobs and we believe this agreement will set the standard for pay, employment rights and services for the rest of the postal industry.”

The agreement includes a pay deal for three years that amounts to a 9.06% compound increase over the three years to 2016. This is broken down as:

  • April 2013-14 3% increase on pay and overtime rates backdated to April 1st 2013 (against a 2.9% RPI)
  • April 2014-15 3% increase on pay and overtime rates
  • April 2015-16 2.8% increase on pay and overtime rates subject to a review if RPI is 0.5% higher or lower.
  • A one-off lump sum of £200 paid before Christmas 2013.
  • New incentive arrangements to be introduced by April 2014.

The legal protections agreed for employees are not time limited and will be reviewed in January 2019 or if there are exceptional circumstances which threaten the very future of the business. They provide postal workers with unique protection against the type of employment practices that are undermining workers everywhere in the UK. The protections include the following undertakings from Royal Mail in a legal contract with the Union.

  • The employer will not outsource, sell or transfer any part of its business.
  • The employer will remain an end-to-end service provider and will not franchise out any part of its business or make any employee self-employed.
  • The employer will not engage any new employee on inferior terms and conditions (no two-tier workforce).
  • The collectively agreed terms and conditions of employees will not be worsened in any respect or changed unless amended by agreement.
  • The over-riding objective will be for the employer to deliver all future change without recourse to compulsory redundancy.
  • The employment model will remain predominantly full time and the agreed resourcing mix will be monitored on a quarterly basis.

The agreement also includes a strategy to grow parcels, retain letters and sustain and grow the USO. There will be new approaches to improved efficiency coupled with incentive arrangements for employees, actions to deliver cultural change and a national review of workloads and resourcing.

 

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It has also been agreed that both parties will create industrial stability with a re-launch of industrial relations arrangements and the introduction of mediation procedures alongside new governance arrangements.

 

The results of the ballot were as follows, on a turnout of 57%:

  • Question: Do you endorse the agreement? Members voting yes = 94.5%
  • Question: Do you endorse the pensions agreement? Members voting yes = 95.5%

 

Read more for the full details of the agreements: Agenda for growth, stability and long-term success and the agreement on pensions .