National Terms of Reference between Royal Mail and the CWU covering the trial of electrically assisted cargo trikes

National Terms of Reference between Royal Mail and the CWU covering the trial of electrically assisted cargo trikes


Dear Colleagues,

As a result of recent articles and stories through various media channels Branches may be aware of this initiative. The brief history of these E- Trikes is that they (11 in number) were purchased and brought into the country at the behest of the new Royal Mail senior management team as these are used by GLS in other parts of Europe. As a consequence we have been in dialogue with Royal Mail over their suitability and use, along with a number of other related issues which we have raised since we were first made aware of the intention to introduce them as part of a limited trial last year.

As referred to above the other factor that Royal Mail are extremely keen to gain is publicity, recognising that the green/environmental agenda is a large issue in society generally with many towns and cities particularly within London in regards to the current Mayor’s policy of reducing fuel emissions etc. Accordingly, this has also driven the desire by Royal Mail to trial these E- Trikes as the Company has carried out publicity events already and in fact their official launch was on the 19th of this month. On this general point we are of course supportive of alternative and more environmentally friendly solutions in regards to the usage of different equipment in order to reduce full emissions, however these alternative solutions have to be suitable for the job our members carry out as well as jointly developed and agreed along with full CWU involvement.

In addition, there are obvious Health and Safety, plus suitability concerns with regard to where and what type of deliveries, if any at all, these E- Trikes might be suitable for. These concerns have been raised and are being dealt with by the Outdoor Department, and the H, S & E Department respectively.

Although we have numerous reservations in regards to trialing these vehicles and also the way in which this issue has been raised by Royal Mail, we however believe that we are better served with a National agreed form of words making it clear that participation from individuals is voluntary and that there is also full CWU involvement in relation to the route selection and assessment process as well as all of the safety implications being satisfactorily resolved.

The locations for the trial are as outlined below, although these may change as this is also subject to National Agreement depending on the suitability of the route assessments which are still currently being undertaken along with sufficient numbers of volunteers;

  1. Stratford (East London) – Olympic Park
  2. Cambridge – University campus (cyclist areas)
  3. Sutton Coldfield – Semi pedestrian areas

Branches will note from the Terms of Reference, that the necessary safeguards have been secured within the document and these include:

  • Full CWU IR involvement at Divisional, Area and Local level plus relevant H & S Reps along with the full involvement of the CWU Health, Safety & Environmental Department.
  • All current work equipment change processes to be followed as standard practice. The processes include full CWU involvement and joint agreement as standard.
  • Feedback will be sought from users as an output of the trial process. Participation is with the agreement of the individual route-holders on suitable and assessed routes only.
  • As outlined above, individuals will not be displaced off their own duty. If there is a volunteer who wants to be part of the trial and someone else in the unit with a suitable route who doesn’t, it is accepted that they can both agree to swap for the purposes of the trial.
  • Individuals will have the option to cease their participation by informing the manager and the reason so this can be captured as part of the trial; however sufficient notice should be given in order to allow alternative arrangements to be planned.
  • During the trial the equipment can only be used on routes which have been assessed for suitability and where the user has been trained.
  • Full training will be provided for individuals. The training covers the need to travel slowly when in areas of mixed use with pedestrians/children, how to drive defensively and vigilantly with constant expectation of other space users to do unpredictable things, and be ready to come to a stop.
  • The trial will be formally reviewed by the signatories of this TOR. Those identified above including local Managers and CWU representatives involved within the trial will feed into this review process and a joint report with conclusions will be finalised as part of this review.

Any enquires in relation to this LTB should be directed to the Outdoor Department, reference 540, and email address:

Yours Sincerely,


Mark Baulch
CWU Assistant Secretary

LTB 181.19 National ToR RMCWU trial of electrically assisted cargo trikesTerms of Reference RM_CWU – Covering the Trial of Electrically Assisted Cargo Trikes E-Trike

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