Following on from the High Court Decision, Moya Greene requested a meeting with Terry Pullinger, CWU’s Deputy General Secretary Postal and lead negotiator. This meeting took place on Wednesday 18th October and lasted 5 hours. During this meeting, Moya Greene expressed her and the company’s desire to resolve the issues of dispute.
Moya Greene said she would be leading Royal Mail’s negotiating team during the external mediation process and said this should demonstrate her commitment to resolving the dispute.
Terry Pullinger responded by saying the Royal Mail had to start listening to its workforce if they wanted to resolve this dispute. They had to change their position on Pay, Pensions, Resourcing, Part Time Workers rights, the way they treat their employees and their desire to make start and finishing times later, based on a cheaper work plan model. Terry informed Royal Mail that all of these issues needed to be addressed if they are going to stop a strike.
On Monday 23rd October, Professor Lynette Harris, the External ACAS Mediator was appointed. Her first role in carrying out the mediation process is to read the submissions from both Royal Mail and the CWU and to fully understand both sides positions in the dispute. Professor Harris will then meet Royal Mail and the CWU separately to listen to the rationale behind Royal Mail and the CWUs respective positions.
Recommendations will then be produced based on reaching common ground between the two parties in order to resolve the dispute. Both Royal Mail and the CWU must then meet within one week to see if they both agree with all or some of the recommendations and will then see if agreement can be reached to resolve the dispute. If agreement can’t be reached based on the external mediator’s recommendations then both parties will have a final two-week opportunity to resolve the dispute during the mediation process. If both parties at this stage have still not resolved the issues then the CWU can then announce strike action.
However, the CWU has always said to members its goal is to negotiate a good deal and not to strike for the sake of it. The High Court Judge asked Royal Mail in the High Court why would they go to the High Court seeking external mediation unless they were going to genuinely move their position in order to reach an agreement. The fact remains that unless Royal Mail agree to the following, there will be a strike.
• A Pension solution for everyone and better than Royal Mail’s cash out scheme.
• A Pay Rise not linked to more strings dependent on later starts and further cuts to terms and conditions. The CWU will not also support performance related pay in future years.
• Progress on the shorter working week and the union’s ambition for a 35-hour gross working week. The shorter working week will be on the same rate of pay for full timers and will result in a pay increase for part timers as the hourly rate increases. The shorter working week is vital due to automation advances resulting in less indoor workload.
• The CWU want part timers to have the full holiday pay for the hours they actually work not just their contracted hours.
• The CWU want to have workplaces audited over how resourcing is conducted including the full time/part time split and how many hours the part timer is actually having to work to complete their job. This is aimed at ensuring part timers who are having to work daily and weekly above their contracted hours have their contracted hours increased instead of Royal Mail exploiting part timers in the workplace by keeping their contracted hours low.
• The CWU want an independent audit of workplaces to oversee the above review and also to identify and attempt to change the pressure put on the workplace which often leads to bullying in the workplace especially where undue pressure is applied in deliveries based on unrealistic and unworkable budget demands.
• The CWU want an extension to the legal guarantees which stops outsourcing, franchising, two tier workforce or the break-up of the company. The Legal Guarantees were due to be reviewed in 2019 and the CWU want an extension until 2022.
• The CWU has rejected Royal Mail’s vision for the pipeline which has nothing to do with Royal Mail wanting to grow parcel traffic but everyone to do with it wanting to cut costs.
• Their desire to have later starts in deliveries and 17:00 last letter was based on Royal Mail saving millions on cancelling all flights which carried mail in England and Wales, designed to remove a significant amount of Area distribution jobs, reduce the late shift in Mail centres and RDCs and significantly push back delivery start and finish times as well as not allowing deliveries to leave the office until mid-day.
• The CWU has rejected and will not accept Royal Mail’s multi bundle delivery option which expects Delivery staff to merge from 3 bundles out on delivery (instead of indoors) whilst also attempting to deliver parcels and carrying a PDA.
• The CWU has also stated we will not accept walk ownership. Walk ownership is designed as the forerunner for franchising deliveries. It removes the CWU from discussing revisions and puts the responsibility on the walk holder who is solely responsible for completing the walk without cutting off. Walk ownership also removes seniority.
• The CWU also rejects Royal Mail’s option of teams covering the sick and annual leave of other team members at zero cost.
• The CWU want Royal Mail to reaffirm their support for the Delivery Menu of Options which allows for innovative duty patterns including 4-day weeks, 9-day fortnights and Wallingtons. This is due to the fact Royal Mail want to revert everyone to a standard 5-day week option.
• The CWU is concerned that Royal Mail want to use the outputs from PDA’s, Trimble and the new automated hours Data capture system to resource offices in the future and ensuring that individuals work every single second of the day and they want to use these new IT applications for conduct purposes.
These remain the central issues at the heart of this dispute and the reason why members voted in the biggest industrial action based ballot in decades by such overwhelming numbers. If Royal Mail don’t change their position there will be a strike. It is essential that members are aware that this dispute is anything but over.
The stakes remain high. The yes vote and the unity of members to back the CWU has put pressure on Royal Mail.
Remember due to the yes vote and pressure from the two, Royal Mail has already dropped the plans for the following monthly pay, no sick leave for the first three days of sick leave, compulsory removal of legacy payments and have dropped the 1700 last letter.
So, we need to keep the pressure on Royal Mail and they must know that unless they move towards the unions position then there will be strike action. Whilst the timescales are tight there remains the opportunity to take strike action before Christmas if there is no agreement.
The CWU wants an agreement but after 18 months of talks we must also prepare for a strike. We must remain united and ready to support the CWU and fight for a good agreement.
We will keep you updated as talks progress.
UNITY IS STRENGTH
A STATEMENT BY ANGLIA DIVISION/EASTERN REGION