Recruitment – Resourcing to Workload – Annual Leave/Resourcing Guidelines – September Review
It has become apparent from reports to the department and via meetings that in a significant number of areas delivery Units are encountering problems with unagreed absorption and lapsing that is contrary to any national agreement, guideline or joint statement. The “Royal Mail & CWU Nationally Agreed Guidelines Covering Annual Leave/Resourcing” (attached) details the process that should be followed by CWU Representatives and Royal Mail managers and where the processes contained within the guidelines are not being followed the IR Framework should be brought into play without delay.
Evidence suggests that Royal Mail are not adhering to national agreements, in particular the Job Security Resourcing and Managing Change agreement, Nationally Agreed Guidelines Covering Annual Leave/Resourcing, the Joint Statement Covering the Filling of Vacancies, and the recently agreed and circulated National Guidelines – Resourcing to Workload Programme, in affect the whole ethos of resourcing to workload fairly and efficiently.
At a recent joint workshop concerns were raised by CWU Divisional Representatives regarding the time taken to recruit people into the job/filling vacancies, the number of casual/agency employees and PT employees being recruited, the number of managers still carrying out OPG work, and the potential impact of this on reliability and quality of service. This will be particularly exacerbated with the increased workload during the autumn. It is essential therefore that CWU Representatives fully utilise the nationally agreed September review to engage fully with Managers to ensure that the right staffing base is in place and that vacancies are filled to ensure that a reliable and substantive workforce is available to deal with the workload. The nationally agreed guidelines covering annual leave and resourcing contains the following statement “To enable this during September weekly resourcing meetings should be fully utilised and adapted with the intention of discussing and agreeing resourcing for the coming year based on your current AWD to create an annual plan. This exercise does not replace the mandatory weekly resourcing meetings which will continue to underpin resourcing throughout the year and at which the annual plan should be reviewed on an on-going basis.” Based on your current AWD – which is why it is important to ensure that you’re current AWD is not carrying vacancies.
Branches are also reminded that the irregularities regarding resourcing that are occurring now is not a new phenomenon as the Joint Statement covering the filling of vacancies agreed in 2007 was about addressing the same problem. The Joint Statement has not been renegotiated or superseded and was designed to address the fundamental problem of Royal Mail introducing reduced hours contracts in advance of any negotiation/consultation with the CWU, and locking the process into the IR Framework. That remains the case and where necessary disagreement should be invoked if this process is not followed.
To be able to provide a reliable pool of resource to deal with workload CWU Representatives and Royal Mail managers should be working from a sound staffing base and this means that vacancies should be filled in line with agreed TM1’s as recruitment is intrinsically linked to resourcing to workload fairly and efficiently, they cannot be divorced if resourcing is going to be done properly.
Royal Mail arbitrarily recruiting (mainly 25 Hour contracts) outside of the agreed resourcing process, i.e. weekly resourcing meetings, defeats the whole object of resourcing to workload. It also means that we are not recruiting to workload and providing a reliable staffing base. In reality it means Delivery Units are recruiting against an imposed financial target and a strategy of ongoing absorption and necessity to flex up which has the potential to significantly impact on the reliability of the service, the USO and quality of service, which is at odds with an agenda for growth. It is important therefore that CWU Representatives ensure that weekly resourcing meetings are taking place and the process is being followed. Where managers refuse to engage in these meetings or follow the agreed process the IR Framework should be used without delay.
Reviewing part time contracts should also form part of the September review, which should be done locally on a 6 monthly basis in any case. The local 6 monthly reviews are about making sure that part-time OPGs are being treated fairly, recognising the hours they perform on a regular basis and having this reflected in their terms and conditions. If this is not carried out many part-time employees will be taking annual leave or being on sick leave and facing a pay cut which is at odds with the principle and intent of the national agreement. The September review should also consider immediate solutions to remedy the ongoing use of managers to carry out work that is proper to the OPG grades and CWU Representatives should primarily push to employ substantive full time contracts against the obviously excessive workload or unfilled vacancies if managers have to perform OPG work.
It is important that all of our Delivery Representatives use this opportunity to address the problems that have been highlighted; the review should be used to ensure a fair allocation of our members annual leave is put in place as a priority and should be the start point for discussions, everything else should flow from this. CWU Representatives and Royal Mail managers should be striving to take uncertainty and inconsistency out of the system as far as possible and arrive at fair and sensible agreements on leave allocation across the year, providing our members with advanced notification on what leave they have been allocated and when they can take it across the year. Consideration should also be given to providing units with the opportunity for increased availability of leave allocation, particularly but not exclusively during the summer.
The existing national agreements, guidelines, agreed tools, procedures and processes in place to support resourcing should be fully utilised in this review and on an ongoing basis to support the process and assist in providing a balanced approach to year round leave allocation and resourcing.
The purpose of the September review is about an accurate and reliable allocation of resource to workload that is then maintained throughout the year. It is about removing unexpected and unagreed absorption and/or excessive workload being placed upon our members. The need for our members to cover any absorption at short notice should be the exception, not the rule.
The national guidelines should be fully utilised as part of the September review to assist the local planning process and focus CWU Representatives and managers’ minds on agreeing an annual leave/resourcing plan, fully utilising the current AWD and reserves, local knowledge and traffic forecasts to support and enable local agreements to be put in place with the full involvement of the CWU.
It is acknowledged that traffic forecasting is not 100% reliable and forecasts should be used as a guide to support local plans.
Some pertinent extracts from the national guidelines are as follows:
• These guidelines do not affect or change any existing national agreements and all current agreements, guidelines and Joint Statements continue to hold the field.
• To jointly produce and agree a annual leave/ resourcing plan utilising all paid for hours, including overtime, that accurately aligns resource to workload in an efficient and fair and manageable way.
• Annual leave/ resourcing plans will not be based on any predetermined lapsing/absorption plans or budget targets.
• To provide people with advanced notice of what work they will be expected to do on a daily and weekly basis over the forthcoming year and to provide additional annual leave opportunities over the summer period, including opportunities to ‘burn off’ any outstanding or carried over leave.
• To jointly identify genuine opportunities where it will be possible to absorb workload including any travelling time within the scheduled duty time and not take people past their scheduled finish time.
• Weekly resourcing meetings will take place and will review the agreed annual plan and make necessary adjustments to reflect any change in traffic against that forecasted and planned. These meetings will have adequate time afforded for the CWU Representative to actively participate.
• The Fairness, Dignity and Respect guidance should be referred to and put in place where necessary.
Any enquiries to Bob Gibson’s Office, quoting reference 210
CWU Assistant Secretary – Outdoor
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