Processing Report for 2019 Annual General Meeting’s

Processing Report for 2019

Annual General Meeting’s




I would like to start this report by thanking those CWURepresentatives and Substitutes who have supported me and each other over the last year. I also thank those members of the CWU Eastern No5 Branch Committee for the supportthey have given me and last of all thanks go out to you our members who have patiently shown support and understanding in another testing year.

The Pay and Four Pillars Agreement (P&FPA) was in its infancy at last year’s AGM. A lot of time over the last 12months has been spent negotiating the many challenges that the agreement offered up, as well as all the normal day to day tasks that face the CWU Reps and members. 

An ever-growing aspect of the business, which we have reported on before, Is the change since privatisation on the business approach to our Royal Mail/CWU Joint National Agreements, which is putting increasing pressure on your CWU Representatives and you the members. It has become evident Managers are being directed to seek advice from HR Legal Advisors when dealing with the Attendance, Grievance, Conduct Code and Bullying and Harassment Procedures. Where pre-privatisation your Union Rep would represent you in front of your Manager and your Managerwould conduct the meetings making their own decisions on the circumstances set out before them. They are nowdirected to consult and adhere to the advice given by these advisors who offer advice purely from a legal point of view. This results in more issues of reviews in the Attendance Procedure and further than normal escalations of the Conduct Code and Bullying and Harassment Procedures,which the CWU feel is fundamentally wrong as this takes away the personal relationship between staff and Management which is against the spirit of our agreements.


Processing Re-alignment of Duty Structure

The year started with preliminary discussions around resourcing. We were originally approached by the Production Control Manager (PCM) with proposals torecruit twenty to thirty Anguard Casual conversions to new eight-hour Saturday only contracts. The reason being Saturday afternoon was under resourced because a lot ofthe original Saturday only staff were on temporary increases of contracts to either fulltime or mid-week parttime. Which meant we were using casual staff every week.

We were happy to agree on the proviso we would look at the whole processing duty structure in line with the resourcing re-alignment section of the P&FPA, with a view of guaranteeing permanent increases of contracts for all staff who were performing temporary contracts, increase duty work hours on all four shifts, reduce the reliance on casualsand high percentages of overtime, stop diverting work out to other mail centres and secure both the 1c and 2c operationsat Peterborough Mail Centre. 

This is something we had attempted to do several times over the last four years but had failed due to inconsistency of Plant Managers and Royal Mails privatisation with severebudget restrictions. However, the current Plant Manager Su Redshaw was determined to agree with the union a re-alignment of the duty structure which would see all  staff on temporary duties made permanent on the temporary hours they were performing, the introduction of new duties to resource against the Amazon growth and the introduction of the 1st hour towards the shorter working week for full-time staff from the P&FPA and secure our future workplace. The aim was to agree and implement by October 1st, 2018.

We agreed a re-aligned duty set with a minimum amount of disruption to the current working patterns of staff to present to the CWU Processing Shift Reps and Managers to point out people and content issues they identified and aligncurrent staff against the duties, most of whom were alignedagainst the duties they originally picked. The temporary contract staff were re-aligned to their permanent contract duties.

This was displayed to the members and we briefed staff in the Work Time Listening and Learning (WTL&L) sessionsalong with the agreed procedures we would use for the forthcoming pick exercise.

The first two rounds of picks were for processing staff only, whereas rounds three and four were open to staff from other functions under the roof. This resulted in significant increases in contractual hours for 118 people, 78 of which went part-time to fulltime, all staff on temporary increaseof hours contracts were successful in picking permanent duties reflecting their temporary hours, staff being able to change shifts to their preference and staff moving into processing from other functions. Of the 78 who moved up to full time, 35 had previously been on 20-hour contracts and 28 new full-time workers moved straight from eight-hour Saturday-only contracts, while another 27 eight-hour Saturday-only people picked 20-hour contracts.

Although the old processing scheduled attendances (SA)were cancelled when the new re-aligned duty structure came in on October 1st, it was agreed to continuing honouring the hours to the staff who held them until the new SA pick exercise had taken place and implemented. The reason for this was we knew a lot of staff would be able to change their shift and work patterns during the pick exercise and therefore deemed it unfair to do the SA pick at the same time as the duty pick. The new re-aligned SA pick was advertised and allocated during the Christmas pressure weeks and implemented in January 2019. There are several vacant SAs which were not picked. One of the reasons for this is the ceiling on how many SA hours a member of staff can hold in any one week, which is 12 hours, as per The Way Forward Agreement. The CWU are proposing to take a motion to this year’s Postal Conference to address this.

There will be a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the re-alignment in February 2019 where meetings will be held with the Shift Reps and Managers to discuss how the re-alignment is working towards the Processing workplan with a view to address any issues raised.

Overall the exercise has been a huge success which hasearned the applause of the CWU Postal Executive.




Romec Cleaners Applying for Internally Advertised Mail Centre Duties

During the recent Processing re-alignment exercise jobs became vacant for staff from other functions to pick. Romec cleaners applied which raised issues which needed confirmation from CWU HQ. Confirmation came back stating Romec cleaners can only apply and be allocated a Royal Mail duty if they had previously applied and been successful in passing a Royal Mail aptitude test for an externally advertised Royal Mail job. There was not yet an opportunity for Romec staff to take an aptitude test when applying for an internally advertised job. Because of this some Romec cleaners were unsuccessful with their applications.

The CWU are proposing to take a motion to this year’sPostal Conference to address this.



Shorter Working Week (SWW)

The first hour was agreed when we Nationally agreed totrials on Automated Hours Data Capture (AHDC), PDA actuals and the Resource Scheduler. The PCM gave his first proposals on where the SWW should be, based on the information produced by the Resourse Scheduler this was put to the CWU Shift Reps and after negotiations andcounter proposals we agreed the first hour reduction to be implemented on October 1st with the realignment in line with the P&FPA. However, because of the reduction some members of staff attendances fell below 7 hours 1 min, which is the threshold of the 40+20-minute meal relief entitlement as outlined in The Way Forward Agreement. Royal Mail were quick to react and reduce those members meal relief entitlement by 10 minutes as per the agreement.

The CWU are proposing to take a motion to this year’sPostal Conference to address this. This is a challenge we will face again this year as the second hour reduction to the SWW is due to commence in October 2019.


Conduct and Attendance Procedure

In terms of conduct code cases we have had a number to deal with and had varied success. We live in testing times and Royal Mail seem evermore determined to handle cases with qualified Legal HR Advisers and most cases are raised to Second Line Managers, which is a dismissal level. On a plus side we only had one person dismissed under the attendance procedure and this was overturned on appeal.


Christmas 2018

The Christmas 2018 Agreement was a bone of contention as Royal Mail Top Management wanted to enforce a maximumlimit of 70 hours work per week with an 11 hour daily rest period and a 24 hour weekly rest period  for all four weeks of Christmas pressure in line with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) totally undermining the last Nationally agreed resourcing for Christmas pressure found in Special Briefing 351/2001 which states:


1. Christmas 2001

We agreed that the hours limit would be 80-gross-hours for each of the two peak Christmas weeks, with a 9-hour break in each 24-hour period and no requirement for a weekly break. For the remaining two weeks, the limit will be 72-gross-hours with the daily break flowing through from the year-round position (10-hours if introduced by then, 9-hours if not). Again, with no mandatory requirement for a weekly 24-hour break.


As this was the last Nationally agreed statement on Christmas, we quickly entered the Industrial Relations Framework completing stages 1 & 2 locally before raising to stage 3. However, before the stage 3 could be heard,Royal Mail Top Management conceded and allowed the status quo to continue for this year as the disagreement was very near to the start of Christmas pressure and the CWU had threatened not to agree planned diversions in or out of the Mail Centre until we had a jointly signed Christmasagreement.

The CWU are proposing to take a motion to this year’sPostal Conference to address this in time for next year.


2018 Christmas Raffle

This year’s raffle for the long-term sick was another success raising £961.70. There were 37 prizes donated for the raffle by Union Reps, Managers and Members of Staff. I would like to say a big thank you to all the Reps who helped organise the event and sell raffle tickets and a big thank you to all the people who supported the raffle by buying tickets.


Parcel Sort Machine

At the beginning of 2018 we were told Peterborough Mail Centre (PMC) had been taken of the list of mail centres who were to have a parcel sort machine (PSM) installed.However, there were two machines which had not been allocated and PMC had been shortlisted along with Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield, as a possible centre to have one installed. In September, the eve before the first pick of the Processing duty re-alignment closed, we were informed PMC had been successful with our application for one of the remaining two machines. Installation will start in May 2019 with a view of an up and running date for October 2019. Joint Negotiations will commence shortly around staffing assumptions and the effect the machine will have on PMC.

Further updates will be reported as they become availablethroughout this year.


Nationally Agreed Trials

PMC will be a trial site for a re-usable bag tie and AGV’s which is essentially an automated (driverless) TUG consisting of four carts and multiple pick up and drop off points for York’s. Engineers have started to prepare for the trial by installing extra power lines in the Processing hall.

Further updates will be reported as they become availablethroughout this year.




Proposed Motions for CWU Postal Conference 2019


1) Since the introduction of the Shorter Working Week (SWW) agreed in the Nationally Agreed Pay and Four Pillars Agreement some duty days have been reduced to a less than 7 hours 1-minute attendance. Royal Mail have been quick to react to these changes by enforcing the entitled meal relief from The Way Forward Agreement. 

Therefore, a member who used to work a 8-hour attendance used to qualify for 1-hour break (40+20) whereas now a member working a 7-hour attendance qualifies for a 50-minute break (30+20) in effect reducing the SWW by 10 mins.

The Postal Executive is instructed to negotiate in any future pay deals a new meal relief structure which will not disadvantage our members when the length of attendance times is shortened by the introduction of the shorter working week.


2) Christmas pressure 2018 saw Royal Mail attempt to enforce the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) of a maximum weekly working limit of 70hours, an 11-hour daily rest break and 24-hour weekly break or 48-hours in two weeks. The last time a joint Nationally agreed document on Christmas was Special Briefing 351/2001 which states.

1. Christmas 2001

We agreed that the hours limit would be 80-gross-hours for each of the two peak Christmas weeks, with a 9-hour break in each 24-hour period and no requirement for a weekly break. For the remaining two weeks, the limit will be 72-gross-hours with the daily break flowing through from the year-round position (10-hours if introduced by then, 9-hours if not). Again, with no mandatory requirement for a weekly 24-hour break.

The Postal Executive is instructed to negotiate with Royal Mail in preparation for Christmas 2019 a new jointly agreed working time directive for the Christmas pressure weeks which will include, the hours limit would be 80-gross-hours for each of the two peak Christmas weeks, with an 11-hour daily rest break and no requirement for a weekly break. For the remaining two weeks, the limit will be 72-gross-hours with an 11-hour daily rest break and no requirement for a weekly break. 

This will be agreed and published in time for local negotiations for Christmas and New Year 2019


3) There is not an opportunity for Romec cleaners to apply for Royal Mail internally advertised Mail Centre duties unless the applicant has applied for an external Royal Mail position and been successful in passing an aptitude test.

The Postal Executive is instructed to negotiate with Royal Mail and Romec the opportunity for Romec staff to take an aptitude test when applying for internally advertised Royal Mail duties.


4) The Way Forward reads Scheduled Attendances will be limited to no more than 12 hours per employee in any week.

Scheduled Attendances can be introduced on a seasonal basis and therefore are sometimes difficult to resource against whilst a limit is in place. 

The Postal Executive is instructed to negotiate with Royal Mail the removal of a limit to how many Scheduled Attendance hours an employee can hold in any week providing they adhere to the European Working Time Directive.


EJ Orviss

Area Processing Representative


Date 7th February 2019

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