Joint Statement Between Royal Mail And The CWU Covering The Customer Presentation Strategy – Deployment Of Multi Mode Feeders To Mail Centres With TOP2000

Joint Statement Between Royal Mail And The CWU Covering The Customer Presentation Strategy – Deployment Of Multi Mode Feeders To Mail Centres With TOP2000
 Presentation Strategy – Large Letter Projects 

Joint Statement Between Royal Mail And The CWU Covering The Customer Presentation Strategy – Deployment Of Multi Mode Feeders To Mail Centres With TOP2000


Branches and representatives were advised in LTB 050/15 issued in January, that a joint trial had taken place at Home Counties North Mail Centre in relation to a possible upgrade to the existing TOP2000 throughout the Mail Centre network. The first element of this upgrade was the deployment of the Dynamic Tray Allocation (DTA) which was covered by a Joint Statement attached to the aforementioned LTB.


LTB 050/15 also advised that trial activity was continuing in respect of the Improved Feeder (MMF) and that this element should therefore not be deployed until confirmed by the department that its use had been agreed.


The department can now report that the Improved Feeder (MMF) element of the project has been successfully completed and following full joint evaluation it has been agreed as suitable for deployment and endorsed by the Postal Executive at its meeting of the 23rd June 2015. Attached for your information is the Joint Statement that has been agreed to cover the deployment of this software in TOP2000 Mail Centres.


I believe that the content of the attached Joint Statement is self-explanatory. However, Branches and representatives are asked to note that the upgrade activity may necessitate that the TOP2000 machine is taken out of service during the installation of the update for a period of up to 10 days, during which time there may be a requirement for the use of temporary diversions as part of the operational arrangements.  


It was against this backdrop that Disruption Planning Principles (Annex A of the attached Joint Statement) has been agreed to ensure that any temporary diversions in relation to this upgrade activity, where agreed, are developed and deployed jointly with the full involvement of local CWU and the principles of the IR Framework being applied. It should also be noted the diversion arrangements are specific to traffic that would normally have been processed through the TOP2000 machine in line with your local workplan.





Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Terry Pullinger, Assistant Secretary, e-mail: or quoting reference number. 712.05


Yours sincerely



Terry Pullinger

Assistant Secretary






The Agenda for Growth Agreement commits Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union to build on the shared vision of modernisation contained in the Business Transformation Agreement and work together in developing and implementing new business strategies. This commitment is the key enabler for Royal Mail and the Union to engage and develop mutual interest solutions that will aid/improve efficiency within the operation while responding to the needs of CWU represented grades.


In keeping with the National Generic Trial/Deployment Frameworks both parties have agreed to jointly identify potential ways and automated handling solutions to improve the flow of mail through Mail Centres from both a Health and Safety and operational aspect.  


Key components of the joint vision and agenda going forward include improving the function and operational capacity of the existing automation estate to support the increase in and protection of large letter volumes and to introduce changes that enable future product innovation to meet customer expectations. One such initiative is to develop improvements to the existing TOP2000 estate that will enable Royal Mail to automate unwrapped and plastic wrapped addressed items.





It was jointly agreed to develop and test improvements to the TOP2000 FSM located at Home Counties North Mail Centre (HCNMC) that were designed to improve the flow of large letter traffic. This was extended to Preston and Jubilee Mail Centres to meet technical test requirements. The trial was conducted in line with the terms of the National Generic Trial Framework Agreement.


The overall aim of the trial was to test defined improvements to the TOP2000 through Improved Feeder (MMF) in a live operational Mail Centre environment.


The trial has now been reviewed and approved by Royal Mail and the CWU as ready for implementation.  



Operational Process


The Multi Mode Feeder upgrade on the TOP2000 enables the efficient and consistent processing of plastic wrapped, open, paper and mixed large letters mail, sorted into trays.


This change affects 26 Mail Centres with TOP2000 technology. The Proof of Concept machine at North West Midlands Mail Centre and HWDC are not within scope for the deployment. Annex A sets out the deployment schedule by Mail Centre.


There are no changes to the nationally agreed minimum TOP2000 staffing levels associated with the deployment of Multi Mode Feeder. Workload associated with the feeder improvement will need to be reviewed locally.


There is no change to the existing Standard Operating Procedure or Safe System of Work associated with this machine hardware change.





There will be effective meaningful consultation between local management, CWU representatives and employees/members on the changes to be deployed. The introduction of any revised duty/attendance arrangements will be negotiated at local level in line with the IR Framework.


Training will be provided in the form of WTLL (Work Time Listening and Learning) created in conjunction with the RM Training and Development team along with on the machine coaching and relevant technical training for engineers provided by the supplier, cascaded across the Mail Centres by the Engineering Performance Managers and subsequently supported by Workplace Coaches. A comprehensive training plan has been created to ensure all operators and engineers are trained and that a training record is completed.


The deployment schedule will be managed nationally with Solystic. TOP2000s may be out of service for up to 9 full days during installation. It is acknowledged that operational arrangements may need to be realigned to accommodate any down time due to the machine upgrade being undertaken, which may include the temporary use of diversions, all operational arrangements will be developed and deployed jointly in line with the principles of the IR Framework.


In the event that diversions are required (in line with annex B) operational disruption plans will be developed at local level in line with the key principles at Annex B to ensure the plan minimises costs, there is no adverse effect on quality of service and earnings are not affected.  


The deployment schedule will be split into two phases. Phase 1 will be to all FAP2 Mail Centres and Phase 2 will be to FAP1 Mail Centres excluding North West Midlands Mail Centre and HWDC.


The deployment schedule will ensure local discussion prior to implementation and will take into account/focus on all possible concerns, risks or difficulties associated with this project. This will ensure any unforeseen employee concerns are also resolved as quickly as possible. Local parties will also meet regularly to monitor and review deployment arrangements. Any issues that are unable to be resolved locally will be progressed via the IR Framework Agreement.

CWU representatives shall be given appropriate release to facilitate this and enable them to consult with members on the proposed change.







Any questions of interpretation, implementation, or application of this Joint Statement shall be referred to the respective Headquarters for resolution.



Terry Pullinger

Assistant Secretary


Francis Williams

Head of Parcels Design

Royal Mail



Date: 26 June 2015


Annex A


Multi Mode Feeder Deployment Schedule


Note: The above schedule may be subject to amendment due to supplier (Solystic) requirements. Any changes to the anticipated schedule will be communicated at the earliest opportunity.



Annex B


Multi Mode Feeder Disruption Planning Principles


The aim of the mutual interest ‘avoiding disruption’ plan is to ensure realistic operational costs consistent with, protecting quality of service and maintain workplan to delivery units in the catchment area without impact on duty arrangements and earnings in the affected Mail Centre. It will be required to jointly review the agreed local arrangements during the upgrade period.


The maximum upgrade period will be 10 full calendar days. However, all diversions where they have been required will cease and traffic will revert to being processed at the parent Mail Centre as soon as the upgrade has been completed if this is earlier.


During the upgrade period in the event that additional adhoc resource will be required to support the operation, including the use of agency/casual workers, CWU graded staff will be given the first option to undertake these commitments in line with local resourcing principles.


To be clear these arrangements are specific to the traffic that would normally been processed through the TOP2000 in line with the local workplan.



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