Processing Report20th October 2016
Industrial Relations Framework
The CWU have grave concerns on the business approach to the industrial relations framework agreements. The business is abusing the element of seek HR advice written into the conduct code and attendance procedures. Royal Mail have appointed specialist HR advisors for management to seek advice for attendance and conduct matters. It has become apparent that these nameless/faceless advisors are virtually conducting the cases for the managers by the way cases (black and white; the rule is the rule; the law is the law stance) are being concluded. This takes away the personal relationship between the member, manager and representative which is not in the spirit of our agreements. Recent examples of both conduct and attendance cases have been issued with results that would not have happened a couple of years ago. Below is a cut and pasted report by Tom Oakey the Area Delivery Rep from the CWU Eastern No6 Branch which highlights a similar situation within their branch which has resulted in official industrial action taken by the Luton and Leagrave Delivery Office. At the time of writing this report I can say a resolution to this dispute has been made and that part of the resolution is management will adhere to the IR framework and keep within the spirit of our agreements.
Luton/Leagrave Industrial Action Ballot/Dispute
Luton and Leagrave delivery units are both based in the Luton site, Leagrave delivery unit was moved to the Luton Delivery office in early 2015. The units are run separately with a different management and CWU personal. The move was challenged due to space constraints both in the existing Luton unit and the operational yard. However after numerous meetings and assurances that minimum space standards were met, solutions to vehicle congestion, and assurances that the space constraints would be reflected within the tools and allowances made for this with regards to expected efficiencies the move was eventually ratified. On transfer to the new Luton office Leagrave implemented its delivery method revision which they were not able to implement at its last site due to having only 6 van spaces for at 40 van shares. The revision has never worked and Royal Mail has consistently in the view of the CWU locally, area and divisionally failed to meet its promises and obligations under national agreements to work with the CWU to resolve these problems. To compound this the Luton Delivery office has never completed its PIR (Post Implementation Review) and again management have not worked with the CWU who at all times have been willing and available to work with management at levels of the organisation.
With this chaotic approach and total disregard to local and national agreements we have found ourselves in place were cost have spiralled and management did not have the experience or want to negotiate with the union, or believed this to be costly. So instead mid-August Royal Mail management adopted an approach of managing the unit by fear of conduct. This started with a line manager who had been removed from the Leagrave management team due to his performance returning w/c 15th August when no Leagrave rep was present and was a given specific role to start conducting coding OPG across both units. The breaches of conduct were trivial, the approach was straight to formal, the approach then and now has been inconsistent and at times the approach contradicted itself as management would advise one thing to one member of staff and tell others not to do the same thing or risk conduct for not completing. We were tipped off by a reliable source that the timing was not a coincident and Royal Mail management deliberately held off until Martin Steel Leagrave Rep and Deputy ADR was on annual leave for 2 weeks.
The initial situation was handled by the Luton deputy rep Andrew Stock, who did himself and the members proud in tackling management and representing CWU members, to extent he was finding management having conversation with members without CWU representation being made available, management advising OPG to accept penalties of 2 years serious or risking the matter being passed up to potential dismissal. The matter was escalated when on the 18th August 2 Leagrave members were removed from delivery, the charge has changed on numerous occasions but the crux is Royal Mail management are of the view not backed up by traffic or agreements these 2 individuals were not doing enough work, they believed this was a deliberate act by these 2 individuals and the 2 would face conduct and potential dismissal.
The following week a Luton OPG was suspended for threatening and abusive behaviour despite 6 witnesses that Royal Mail called not agreeing that this individual was either abusive or threatening, he was suspended and left at home for 6 weeks and has only recently come back to work, but at the moment this is in another office. This incident started as result of management deliberately isolating one member of staff who nobody in the office was allowed to speak.
I am sure you will all appreciate that the fine exact details cannot be shared as these cases are ongoing. These are not the only cases there are now dozens of cases started in the units. The membership in conjunction with the branch were quick to request Industrial action ballot, due to the threat of dismissal of our members and the misapplication of the conduct agreement, the branch worked at pace to validate the membership and agreed a short timeframe for the ballot of 1 week this commenced with the ballot papers arriving at our members homes on 6th October, with the result announced on the 13th October. The result was Leagrave 95% in favour on 75% return and Luton 92% on 68% return.
With the threat of Industrial Action and the strong ballot result, discussions have and continue to take place with CWU divisional reps and members of Royal Mail East directorship team. At present the positions are miles apart. Royal Mail feel as they are no longer looking to dismiss at present we should withdraw the ballot, many have been put on serious warnings. Although a significant part of why are members wanted and backed industrial action was in relation to the individuals who faced dismissal, they realise that this has impacted on everybody in the office; the fear of dismissal has become widespread. The membership want answers to why agreements have been ignored and who instructed these agreements to be ignored.
The postal executive have endorsed industrial action for Wednesday 19th and 26th October. Further updates will be given at the regional meeting and notice has been served for 19th October industrial action.
Eastern No6 Area Delivery Rep
Processing Duty Structure
The recent vacant specialist duties exercise created vacant early shift CSS duties which are now advertised for picking.
The Christmas pressure overtime preference sheets have been sent out to processing and collection staff with their annual leave pick forms. The book room have sent the overtime preference sheets in bulk to deliveries, distribution, revenue, print site and the admin functions for staff to volunteer for overtime. Management have asked us again to emphasise their concerns on the amount of overtime blow outs during Christmas pressure over the last two Christmases. Overtime blow outs do put the operation at risk and is something that needs to be addressed. A clear message will be on the overtime preference exercise going out to staff highlighting this issue and because the overtime staff volunteer for will be guaranteed, asking staff to only volunteer for the overtime they will perform.
Annual Leave Agreement 2017/18
The annual leave pick forms have been sent out with an accompany letter which refers to: “Failure to select at least 5 weeks leave (entitlement permitting) will result in leave being allocated once the pick exercise has been completed” Although the CWU fully support the need for as much annual leave as possible to be allocated for the resourcing forecast this is an unagreed inclusion in the letter. The EWTD and local annual leave agreement state a minimum of 4 full weeks should be taken as leave. It would be helpful for the resource plans if members of staff picked all their leave in this one exercise but if that is not possible and if members have their 5th and 6th week allocated to them at a date that is not appropriate then the advice would be to cancel it and rebook it for a date that is appropriate. It is also worth noting that staff who do qualify for 6 weeks’ annual leave can use two of those weeks as odd days.
Parcel Sort Machine
No further information.
Area Processing Representative
Date 20th October 2016