Boycott of Competitors Mail

Dear Colleague
Having considered all the issues surrounding a potential injunction, which could have prevented the Union from taking legal industrial action on a range of issues, the CWU has given Royal Mail an undertaking that we will not call for a boycott of competitors’ mail on reliance of the consultative ballot result. 
However, the Union will continue to build pressure over the issue of unfair competition.  Firstly, we will explore if there is any legal way of carrying out a future boycott as part of a properly constituted industrial action ballot.  Secondly, we will expose Royal Mail’s abject failure to tackle End to End competition.  In recent months the company has moved from being a vocal critic, to publicly supporting Ofcom’s ‘wait and see’ approach.  We want Royal Mail to explain to the workforce how they intend to protect revenue, jobs, and the pay and conditions of our members.  Thirdly, we will plan a specific event to focus on the actions of the Regulator in the near future.
The boycott policy has already been effective in creating a lot of publicity.  As a direct result of the Union’s actions we have seen Ofcom backtracking on the damaging proposals they were contemplating from their user needs consultation.  We have seen Ofcom, for the first time, layout a detailed process on what needs to happen for them to directly intervene on end to end competition.  Furthermore, we have seen Ofcom publicly commit to a firmer monitoring of the ongoing situation with a major review in 2015.  Now the CWU will focus on fresh strategies to tackle unfair competition.
Please ensure the terms of this LTB are communicated to our members.  The Union will be sending out further information next week on all the major issues we are currently dealing with.  We have attached a copy of our press release issued today.
Yours sincerely
Dave Ward                                                    Billy Hayes
Deputy General Secretary (P)                             General Secretary

 28th June 2013
For immediate release
Fight goes on over unfair competition
The Communication Workers Union is today (Friday) pleased that the profile of the issue of unfair competition and opposition to privatisation has been raised by the union’s consultative ballot result. The union has accepted legal advice which says it would not be legal to undertake boycott action on the back of the consultative ballot alone, but says the fight goes on.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “Postal workers have clearly spoken. When asked directly, 92% said they were prepared to take part in a boycott of competitors’ mail and 96% said they opposed privatisation of Royal Mail. This has significantly raised the profile of these issues.
“We have accepted the advice of lawyers that it would not be legal to take action on boycotting competitors’ mail on the basis of the consultative ballot result alone.
“We are now considering how this action could be taken. There are a number of outstanding issues for our members in Royal Mail and we are exploring the possibility of holding a national industrial action ballot which could also deal with the boycott.
“In the meantime, Royal Mail must explain to its workforce how they are going to protect revenue, jobs and terms and conditions when they have abjectly failed to tackle this issue. They should be taking TNT to court, not us.
“TNT is allowed to set up delivery networks on an unlevel playing field – delivering what they want, when they want, where they want on poverty pay and with no quality of service standards. The government and regulator are sleepwalking into a disaster waiting to happen. The fight goes on to protect the future of UK postal services.”
CWU published the results of its consultative ballot on 19 June. Ballot papers were distributed to 112,000 postal workers in Royal Mail (not the Post Office or Parcelforce) asking four questions.
The results, on a 74% turnout, were:
Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail? YES 96%
Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail? YES 92%
Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim? YES 99%
Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation? YES 92%


Dear Colleagues
As branches will be aware, the union’s campaign to save Royal Mail is in full flight.  Over the next few weeks, we are stepping up the physical element of the campaign with the aim of increasing the visual impact to MPs and the public.  This element will centre around a postcard campaign.  The postcards are designed for individuals to sign and send to their MP.  All MPs are to be targeted.   
Postcards are being posted out to branches and regions.   Each branch will receive 10,000 postcards and each region will receive a further 10,000. 
Branches are being asked to use these postcards to take the SORM campaign to the public, via street stalls, stations, shopping centres etc. 
Specifically, we have announced a one week of public activity from the 6th to the 14th July 2013.  This activity week includes two weekends to maximise activity in towns and cities around the UK.   Regional Secretaries are co-ordinating these activities with all branches expected to arrange events in their area.
From Monday 8th July to Friday 12th July, this activity week will be supported by direct action in London, focussed on highlighting the campaign in the heart of the city.   A CWU liveried bus will tour the city, stopping at sites directly relevant to the campaign. 
Obviously, campaign activity is not restricted to these dates and many branches are already holding events.  This activity should continue, including having a campaign presence at major events across the UK.
In addition to the above, individual members will receive 6 postcards each to their home address requesting them to post to their MP and ask friends and family to do the same.   
In addition the postcards contain details of the SORM campaign website.  This is aimed at driving increasing amounts of traffic to the site to take online action.  For the same reason an email is being sent today to each member for whom we hold email addresses, including links to the online actions. 
All enquiries on this LTB should be addressed to

Westminster Debate & Parliament Lobbying

Dear Colleague
Privatisation of Royal Mail Debate & Lobby of Parliament
Further to LTB 401/13 & 421/13, Branches may wish to know that there is to be a debate on Privatisation of Royal Mail between 2.30pm and 4.00pm in Westminster Hall, on Tuesday 25 June 2013. The debate was initiated by Katy Clarke, Chair of CWU Supported MPs. The Labour shadow team will be represented at the debate.
Members of the CWU HQ will also be present. The debate is being streamed live and can be accessed via the following link
When you have clicked on the link please scroll down the page to “Westminster Hall”
CWU will also be meeting Michael Fallon at BIS on Wednesday 26 June and in preparation for the lobby of Parliament on 2 July 2013, material is currently being prepared for CWU Branches. This will highlight recent developments together with our vision document. 

Consultative Ballot – Press Release

The Communication Workers Union can today (Wednesday) announce the result of its consultative ballot which closed yesterday. Ballot papers were distributed to 112,000 postal workers in Royal Mail (not the Post Office or Parcelforce) asking four questions.

The results, on a 74% turnout, are:

Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail? YES 96%
Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail? YES 92%

Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim? YES 99%
Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation? YES 92%

Ballot papers were collected, counted and verified by independent scrutineer Popularis.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “No-one has yet asked postal workers what they think about privatisation. Today postal workers have spoken loud and clear with a massive 96% roundly rejecting the government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail. The workforce does not support the government or Royal Mail on selling the company. This company is flourishing in public ownership as the recent doubling of profits proves. It’s becoming less clear what this policy is about. Why privatise this profitable company?

“Today’s ballot result shows we have resounding support for all the union’s policies. This is a strong message to take forward action in each area to improve the working lives of postal workers and protect the services and jobs which customers and communities value.”

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “This ballot result is a damning rejection of the tired old government privatisation policy and the actions of the Royal Mail board in support of this. Postal workers have worked incredibly hard to turn the fortunes of the company around. Royal Mail is not a financial basket case and they know privatisation is only benefitting vested interests.

“Postal workers are not going to sacrifice their souls for a so-called 10% stake when they know their jobs, pensions and conditions are once again under threat.

“The government and Royal Mail have completely alienated the workforce and it’s time for serious negotiations to find a solution that really can align the interests of workers, customers and the company. If not, then prolonged industrial conflict is inevitable.

“On a mail boycott, Royal Mail workers have shown they understand the threat to the universal service from unfair competition and the race to the bottom on their own terms and conditions. The way competition is being introduced does not benefit customers, small businesses or postal workers in whatever company they work for.”

CWU response to the ballot result in more detail:

Q1: Privatisation

Royal Mail isn’t a financial basket case; it’s not a burden on the state and doesn’t take any grants. Selling the company only benefits those with vested interests. Privatisation is about taking profits out and not reinvesting in the service. Royal Mail is successful in public ownership and is modernising. There is no need for privatisation to secure access to capital. Network Rail – also a public body – has borrowed billions on private capital markets without it adding to the public debt or causing the government to “choose between funding hospital and schools” or the business, as it has claimed in respect to Royal Mail.

Q2: Mail boycott

Ofcom and Royal Mail have no strategy for dealing with the threat that end to end competition poses to the universal service.

The government and Ofcom need to act to address the rigged competition system which threatens to destabilise the universal service. This is made more urgent given TNT’s announcement yesterday that they are expanding their street deliveries in SW London and intend to create 20,000 jobs. They will only do this by paying low wages and by pulling work from Royal Mail which will destabilise the company’s ability to deliver post to all addresses – rural and urban. TNT is being allowed to deliver what they want, where they want and when they want with no quality of service standards. They are being allowed to get away with this by a government and regulator which either don’t understand or don’t care about the postal service.

Q3: Pay

A pay rise for Royal Mail workers was due on the 1st April 2013. The CWU has set out clearly what we want – an above-inflation two-year pay deal to ensure the workforce is fairly rewarded for their hard work in contributing to the success of the business, which includes recent profits in excess of £400 million.

Q4: Workplace issues and non-cooperation

The workforce has supported difficult change and over the last three years has successfully turned the fortunes of the company around. This has been with, not despite of, the workforce. Now, because of privatisation, we’re seeing unrealistic budget cuts which are putting too much pressure on postal workers in many workplaces.

Next steps

The union’s postal executive will meet in the near future to decide how we will take all these issues forwards.

Consultative Ballot – Update

Dear Colleague

Consultative Ballot – Update

We can advise that following a Court hearing today after Royal Mail initiated legal proceedings; the Union has given an undertaking that we would not call Industrial Action over the next 7 days in reliance on the Consultative Ballot. On this basis the full hearing has been adjourned until Friday 28th June. In line with the LTB sent out earlier today the Postal Executive will be meeting in due course to consider all the issues covered in the earlier LTB.

Further information will follow in due course.

Any enquiries on the above LTB should be addressed to the DGS (P) Department.

Consultative Ballot Results

Dear Colleague

CWU Consultative Ballot

We are pleased to announce the result of the Consultative Ballot as follows:-

Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail? YES –96%

Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail? YES – 92%

Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim? YES –99% Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation? YES –92%

The turnout for the ballot was 74%.

The full results as counted, verified and confirmed by the Independent Scrutineer, Popularis Limited, are attached.

We would like to thank all CWU Branches, Representatives and members for their efforts in undertaking the Consultative Ballot and returning an overwhelming vote in favour of CWU policy.

CWU members have massively rejected Government and associated company plans to privatise Royal Mail. Furthermore, by supporting overall CWU policy our members have shown their determination to protect and promote their jobs, terms and conditions and the future of UK Postal Services.

In direct response to our Consultative Ballot we can also advise of two important developments from Royal Mail. Firstly, the company has initiated at 1400 hours today legal proceedings against the Union in relation to the Boycott. The Union is consulting with our Lawyers on this matter. Secondly, the company has confirmed in writing an offer for a 3 year Pay Deal linked to previously rejected pension proposals and other associated conditions over the future. The company has insisted this is a closed offer for 7 days which means we cannot divulge any more detail at this stage.

Although an outline of the offer was shared verbally with the Postal Executive yesterday, we agreed that given the company’s pending legal challenge, time should be set aside at a future meeting to fully consider the proposal.

In terms of our next steps, the Postal Executive will meet in the near future to consider the following:

* The company’s written proposal on pay and other associated conditions.

* How we take forward the views expressed in the Consultative Ballot.

* Where we are on all outstanding national talks and the positions we intend to take to a Special Conference in the very near future.

* How we now engage Parcelforce members in their own Consultative Ballot and plans in support of overall Union policy.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the Consultative Ballot has been an extremely successful exercise in demonstrating the strength of feeling and this will boost the fight against privatisation and unfair competition. Furthermore it will strengthen our ongoing negotiations with the company and Government. We have also attached to this LTB a copy of today’s press release and a members’ letter that should be immediately distributed in the workplace. Further information on all these issues contained in this LTB will follow in due course.

Any enquiries on the above LTB should be addressed to the DGS (P) Dept.

Un-agreed Royal Mail Training – Resourcing and Engaging Your Delivery Office

Dear Colleague,

Royal Mail Training – Bite Size 5 Module V10 – Resourcing and Engaging Your Delivery Office

This LTB is to inform Branches and CWU Representatives that the above mentioned training is not agreed with the CWU; in fact we will go as far as to say it is not recognised by the CWU and presents another hurdle for DOM’s to jump through rather than focusing their attention on running the office and getting people out on delivery on time. It offers no value for our Representatives and members’. Some of its content is farcical and was clearly designed by someone who has no practical experience of a Delivery Office. It is also non compliant with our National Agreements, Guidelines and Joint Statements.

The following is a summary of some of the issues and problems that are contained in this ‘training’ module.

1. There is no mention in the module that resourcing meetings and forecasting is covered by a Royal Mail / CWU National Agreement. A copy of the agenda to be used at the weekly resourcing meetings is not provided, plus there is no reference to the resourcing methods contained in some of the National Joint Statements.

2. The module contains a communications board which has not been agreed with the CWU and contains several problems to say the least.

3. The reference to time out of office assumes all deliveries leave at the same time. In reality there will probably be several different times that deliveries are scheduled to leave the office.

4. There is reference to Items Per Hour (IPH) and a box on the communications board which states that “IPH processed per hour worked adjusted by a number of factors to enable level playing field comparisons with other DOs”. It makes no mention of what adjustment is made to the IPH figure, and more importantly using IPH to compare office to office is not part of any National Agreement. The CWU has not agreed this as a comparator and we maintain that this is an unrepresentative method of measuring office by office performance. The listing of the top 5 offices in an area using this method is a back door introduction of the Top 10% / Upper Decile which continues to be subject to national discussions and as such is not agreed.

5. The information collated on the Communications Board is subject to a daily huddle of all staff, which would take a minimum of 10 mins a day at least, 1 hour per week. However there is no mention of this time being factored into any revision activity or the daily operation. It would appear that our members are expected to absorb this time which in an office of 40 duties would equate to 40 hours per week or a FT job.

6. The training module assumes that accurate traffic figures can be obtained on the day from the Mail Centre, which then enables the DOM to adjust the resourcing of the operation that morning to match the traffic. In the real world this is simply not the case. Accurate traffic figures are not available at that time of the morning for resourcing to be adjusted. Even if they were the DOM would not have the time to get the figures and run them through the forecast IWT, work out what staff could be realigned, inform their line managers, populate the communications board, call for and undertake a huddle, and then debate with staff and Reps if the assumptions can be achieved. While all this is taking place most OPGs would be prepping their deliveries. This clearly demonstrates that whoever concocted this idea is from a different planet to those who work in delivery.

7. The examples given in the exercises contained in the module are unrealistic and there is no recognition that when traffic is above module week overtime may have to be scheduled to deal with it.

8. It makes no reference to the fact that forecasting/resourcing is undertaken at the agreed office performance.

9. It makes no reference to the fact contained in the Pay & Mod agreement that lower traffic levels during the summer can be used to create more annual leave slots. It also fails to mention that staff can cover for each other. But it does state that if you work an extra 30 mins Friday or Saturday Royal Mail can carry the time owed over into the next week. The National Agreement does not say that.

10. A screen shot in the workbook indicates it is from the IWT; however this screenshot is not in the IWT.

11. In one of the exercises the solution involves sorting D2D outside of the Standard Operating Procedure.

The whole module is not fit for purpose as far as the CWU is concerned. It also highlights an in principle problem with training where on one hand we have agreed joint training on operational issues and agreements, and on the other hand Royal Mail continue to develop their own independent training on the same or similar subject matter which is quite often not compatible with National Agreements and devoid of any practical experience or knowledge of the operation.

As an example a DOM could go to a nationally agreed joint training workshop one week and get an accurate assessment of how to carry out resourcing in line with National Agreements, and the next week go to a bite size training session where the operation is presented as being carried out in a utopian, unrealistic, ideal world situation, which in reality does not exist and Royal Mail are light years away from achieving, especially when they continue to colour the water with ongoing unnecessary training modules that appear to be there to simply preserve the employment of certain individuals who would otherwise be employed in Disneyland.

It is not a sustainable position for any business to have two or three different training forums sending out different messages on the same subject, especially when one is ill informed, naïve, and non compliant with National Agreements. It is not helpful that this approach to “resourcing to demand”, a Royal Mail term, seeks to highjack and undermine the nationally agreed joint process i.e. the weekly resourcing meeting.

We have a jointly developed, joint training workshop delivered by Royal Mail managers and CWU Reps to Royal Mail managers and CWU reps, who are actually involved in the day to day operation and realities of the Delivery Office environment, which is more than fit for purpose and delivers a consistent, fully informed message that is compliant with National Agreements.

If this is module is deployed in any Delivery Offices it is not agreed and managers should be asked where the time for the huddle is coming from. Any attempts to impose this process should be dealt with using the IR Framework and registering unilateral disagreement.

CWU Lobby of Parliament

Dear Colleagues

Royal Mail Privatisation – Lobby Event in Parliament, Tuesday 2nd July 2013

We are writing to give you early notification that the CWU will be holding a lobby event in Parliament – the purpose of which is to reinforce with parliamentarians the union’s ongoing campaign against the Privatisation of Royal Mail.

The lobby forms part of a series of initiatives designed to ‘wake up the Westminster Village’.

The event will take place in the House of Commons on Tuesday 2nd July 2013.

Branches are asked to make a note of this date and we will communicate further details and information in due course.

Any enquiries on this LTB should be addressed to the General Secretary quoting Reference GS11.0

Save Our Royal Mail Campaign

Dear Colleague


In support of the ‘Save our Royal Mail’ Coalition, the CWU will undertake our own activities to raise the campaign profile amongst politicians and the public.

Targeting MP’s – All CWU members will soon receive a letter to their home addresses seeking their active support to write letters and send postcards to their local MP’s (appropriate materials will be included in the letter). Similarly, the letter will direct members to how they can support the social media activities of the ‘Save our Royal Mail’ Campaign. Campaign Activities 6th to 14th July – This period has been designated for intense campaigning to be actively supported by CWU representatives and members. This will include:-

* The hiring of an open top bus throughout the week commencing 8th July, to be utilised on a circular route between parliament, BIS, Royal Mail Headquarters and Ofcom Headquarters. The bus will be decked out with appropriate campaign slogans and images and with suitable sound effects to create attention.

* The leafleting of mainline stations across the country alongside planned regional/local events to ensure a national profile.

* Suitable advertisements will be taken out in national papers and on strategically placed billboards.

* Local Branches will be asked to set up stalls outside main supermarkets etc.

Full plans are being drawn up in conjunction with the Communications Department and suitable materials will be distributed in due course.

Door to Door Drop – The ‘Save our Royal Mail’ Coalition is also assessing a report on the viability of a targeted door to door drop.

Please convey the content of this LTB to all workplaces. Further information will follow in due course. Any enquiries on the above LTB should be addressed to the DGS (P) Department.

Facebook: Save Our Royal Mail
Twitter: @SaveOurRM

Pension Proposals Rejected

Dear Colleague


The Postal Executive met this week and rejected the formal proposals from the Royal Mail Group and Post Office Limited for further pension changes.

The Union communicated this position to both companies and reaffirmed that any attempt by either company to take executive action on pensions will be met with a national industrial action ballot across the postal constituency.

The Postal Executive has agreed that once the companies trigger the legal consultation process we will arrange a Special Conference. However, the purpose of this Conference will be to consider the overall position in all national talks and privatisation, as well as pensions. By recognising the linkage between all of these issues we will place ourselves in the best possible position to protect our members and the future of UK postal services.

In the meantime, the Union has met with our lawyers to consider the legality of the proposals and the actions of the Trustee Board and Government. The lawyers are also looking closely at the European Commission’s ruling on the granting of state aid.

Finally, we will be seeking support from political parties to raise this issue in parliament and ensure there is a thorough enquiry into the whole question of this latest pension development, its linkage to the previous Government settlement and European state aid.

Further information will follow in due course. Any enquiries on the above LTB should be addressed to the DGS (P) Dept.

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