Parcel processing strategy

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General Secretary: Billy Hayes (

Letter to Branches





No. 650/14 Ref: 732.02 Date: 20th October 2014

To:     All Postal Branches

Area Processing Representatives

Area Distribution Representatives

Divisional Representatives

Dear Colleague


The Union has recently been engaged in dialogue regarding the development of parcel processing strategy following the recent trial/proof of concept activity which has taken place at selected Mail Centres in line with previously agreed terms of reference.

The culmination of this activity has resulted in the business now looking to jointly expand the development/deployment of parcel handling technology including scanning and tracking across the Network.

A Joint Statement is attached which clarifies the current position going forward.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Terry Pullinger, Assistant Secretary, e-mail: or quoting reference number 732.02.

Yours sincerely

Terry Pullinger

Assistant Secretary


Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union are working together in developing key business policies, mutual interest solutions and a new culture, which is at the core of all the commitments contained in the BT2010 Agreement and the recently endorsed Agenda for Growth, Stability and Long Term Success Agreement.

Royal Mail and the CWU have been in discussion in respect of the Parcel Automation Project in relation to the Mail Centre network, which is part of the Royal Mail Parcel Transformation Programme. The aim of the project is to develop a future parcel processing plan, including automated and manual interventions for all bar-coded parcels in the Royal Mail operation. We have been fully engaged at National level on the scope and details of the project and a National Engagement Forum is to be established to enable detailed sharing of information. Existing National groups, such as the National Processing Group (NPG), Growth Forum and the Parallel Ops Executive will review the progress of the project.

Royal Mail is embarking on a tender process inviting machine suppliers to bid to provide Royal Mail with a parcel sorting machine solution and the project team are currently formulating a business case to secure the funding for investment. Supplier bids will be returned on the 29

th December 2014 and it is currently envisaged that a business case will be submitted to the Royal Mail Board in early 2015. If funding is secured, the intention will be to start deploying machines in 2015 with the aim of completing this activity in 2016. The introduction of scanners into manual parcel sorting is planned to follow a similar timeframe.

Even though Royal Mail has yet to pick a supplier or approve the business case some local planning and testing will be commencing in Mail Centres, which will follow agreed terms of reference for the activity with the CWU. This will be focussed on gathering information to inform the business case and the practicalities of deployment, i.e. where the machine will fit in the Mail Centre, what capacity is needed, how processes may change etc.

The Royal Mail project team, local management and local CWU representatives will work together to ensure we get local site specific information to inform the overall design and business case assumptions.

Against that backdrop it is acknowledged that the Parcel Automation Project is still at a very early stage with a significant amount of joint development activity to be concluded going forward. As the project evolves issues, such as Manpower Planning/Resourcing at affected sites, will require further discussion at the relevant phase of deployment.

We will of course update you further as the project progresses.

Andrew Forbes Terry Pullinger

Head of Processing Design Assistant Secretary

Royal Mail CWU

Date: 20

th October 2014

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