16th July Members Meeting Report with Tony Bouch
Tony opened the meeting by informing people that Royal Mail on Friday 14th July 2017 had shifted their stance on Pensions and submitted an improved offer to the Union. He wanted to make it clear, the business has shifted their position twice now regarding Pensions, purely on the strength of CWU members support for the Four Pillars Campaign. The new offer from the business will see them pay in 13.6% contributions (currently stands at 17.1%). This new scheme proposed by the business will see each individual with 3 separate schemes running alongside each other. It is the CWU view that this is a deliberate attempt by the business to confuse people into not understanding how much money they will be losing.
Tony went on to explain that on 28th June 2017 the national officers of the CWU met with 20 financial experts from around the UK including MPs, business owners and media executives to outline the CWU counter proposal on Pensions. The union wish to expose the business and will use all media outlets when the time comes if national talks break down.
The business pay offer of £250 plus 30 minutes reduction in the working week (if all other proposals are accepted) Tony said was an absolute insult to delivery members, who walk up and down 29 million paths in all weathers 6 days a week. Some of these proposals include…
Monthly pay, removal of election payments, Christmas bonus payment linked to performance, attendance procedure reviewed (no appeal at stage 1 and 2) and a professional manager i.e. legal expert to undertake the stage 3 dismissal interview. This is for one reason only, to make sure the case is water tight should a tribunal be raised. There are currently 285 national agreements in place and it is the business’ wishes to review these and reduce in order to make it easier for managers to control.
The business also made it their intention for all new starters to only be on 80% of the pay of full time employees and with no shift allowance applicable to them. Under the business’ plans it will take a new starter 4 years to reach the same pay as an existing employee. This contradicts the 2014 national agreement ‘agenda for growth’ which the business signed up to a no 2 tier workforce.
As for deliveries Tony said the business has made it clear to the union, it is their intention for delivery finish times to finish 2 hours later and the USO moved from 1500 hours to 1700 hours. The union counter argument is come the winter months, in some parts of the country it is near darkness about 16:00 hours and our member’s health and safety will never be compromised. The business said 25% of all UK deliveries are not completed within their duty times and their plans are for Postmen/women to ‘have route ownership’ of their rounds, which each person would have to agree to never extend or cut off. They have also plans for individuals to work in groups where they would be responsible to cover annual leave and sickness. Data capture chips and swipe cards were another one of the contentious issues the business has put forward. Their wish is for chips to be blue toothed to various points around the local office in order for managers to track employees within a 5 metre radius. It is the CWU belief these plans are just to get members put on the conduct code.
Most of the business’ proposals are completely unworkable as any delivery member reading this will understand. The general feeling amongst CWU national officers is that the business have not thought any of their plans through. Tony said that across the country the business has some very good managers and directors who understand how things work, but these people are not what the business want. To confirm this Tony said the chief negotiator for Royal Mail in direct talks with himself and Mark Baulch CWU Outdoor Secretary has only been employed by the company for 3 years and has never undertaken a delivery in his life.
This dispute is not about improving the service or efficiency, it’s purely about saving money and cost cutting. This union will get this exact message out to the general public through various media contacts and members. Please continue to support your reps and turn up at gate meetings and spread the message in the workplace. With our members support, the business will have no option but to come to its senses and get an agreement with your union. Members doing nothing will only strengthen the business’ hand in bringing in all the ridiculous points raised above.
Cheers, Lee Walsh
Peterborough Deliveries Sub Rep