POST OFFICE: FRANCHISING OF 74 CROWN OFFICES TO WH SMITH – UNION DE-RECOGNITION
Further to LTB 095/19 dated 12th February. As previously reported, at the recent discussions with Post Office and WHS regarding the “measures” transferring across with Crown Office members under TUPE to WHS, agreement could not be reached on formal CWU recognition for these members. As a consequence, following our last meeting on the “measures”, and after taking legal advice, I wrote formally to Anthony Lawrence, Group HR Director, WHS on 12th February to outline our strong arguments as to why Union recognition should transfer with the members under TUPE legislation.
Unfortunately I did not receive a response to my letter and I therefore sent a further letter to Anthony Lawrence on 27th February. I have now received a response which can only be interpreted as WHS de-recognising this Union due to a legal interpretation on their part, which we believe to be spurious. Basically, WHS is claiming the Post Office operation within a WHS store is not a “distinct” entity and therefore TUPE in regards to Trade Union recognition doesn’t apply.
It is extremely disappointing that the Post Office is choosing franchise partners who do not want to recognise the CWU which is essentially creating a de-recognition of Trade Unions, something we cannot tolerate and we are determined to challenge this ill-conceived position. Obviously our members transferring will want the CWU to be formally recognised yet WHS are turning their face away from this position.
We will be taking further legal advice regarding the legal technicality that WHS is hiding behind and further developments in this regard will be reported. Also, a document will be placed before the Postal Executive at the next statutory meeting in order to determine future policy and our next steps.
In the meantime, we will be highlighting WHS’s stance in regard to Union de-recognition at our political event in Westminster next Monday 11th March (refer to LTB 129/19 for full details). We will also be raising this serious matter with Gill Furniss MP, Shadow BEIS Minister.
Finally, our Post Office Representatives are urged to bring this situation to the attention of those members facing franchising as they need to be aware of all facts which will help them to determine whether they take the Settlement Agreement or TUPE.
Further developments will be reported.