Midlands Division Defending The 4 Pillars Agreement – August 2019

Midlands Division

Defending The 4 Pillars Agreement  August 2019


Members will be aware that following the announcement of Royal Mail’s 5 year business plan the CWU has registered a National Point of Principle Disagreement with the company. The disagreement raises our serious concerns that Royal Mail is no longer committed to the 4 Pillars Agreement, and specifically the legal protections we have secured.


Below is a summary of the key issues that need to be resolved if we are to avoid a national dispute with Royal Mail.


Key Issues


 Royal Mail’s 5 year business plan includes up to 20,000 job losses. Job creation and job protection is at the core of everything the CWU stands for.


 The business intends to open at least 3 parcel sorting centres. This will result in parcel traffic and duties being removed from Mail Centres. 


 The business intends to introduce dedicated parcel deliveries in Delivery Offices. This will remove parcel traffic and duty hours from current deliveries.


 Royal Mail has not agreed to implement the 1 hour reduction in the working week contained within the 4 Pillars Agreement that is due to commence in October 2019.


 The culture in many offices remains unacceptable.


It is vitally important that we resolve all of these issues andensure that we manage this change based on job security for members.


Additionally Royal Mail has written to the CWU advising of their intention to commence a formal review of the existing legal protections we have secured. 


Below is a reminder of the key legal protections, now under threat.



Current Legal Protections


 The Employer will remain a provider of end to end service namely the collection, transportation, sorting and delivery of letters and parcels.


 The Employer will not outsource, sell or transfer to a company outside of the Royal Mail Group any part of its business..


 The Employer will not franchise out any part of its business..


 The Employer will not engage any new Employee on terms and conditions which are inferior to existing Employees..


 No Employee will be engaged on zero hour contracts.


 The overarching objective will be for the Employer to deliver all future change without recourse to compulsory redundancy.’


 ‘Employees will be employed on permanent contracts, except where there is genuine short term need..’


 The overall resourcing model will continue to be based predominantly on full time employment..’


 ‘Employees will not be employed on Temporary contracts exceeding two years…’


 ‘Part Time contracts will be reviewed every 6 months and where appropriate increased contracts will be offered to reflect hours actually worked and planned.’


This set of comprehensive legal job security protections are without doubt the finest ever achieved within the Trade Union movement and worthy of defending.


The fact that Royal Mail now wishes to review these protections is of great concern. 


But equally of concern is the fact that in the last few days Royal Mail has culled a number of senior national managers who have been heavily involved in the 4 Pillars agreement and may have been committed to the agreement. These national managers have been replaced by others who may not have any such commitment.



Next Steps


National negotiations on Royal Mail’s business plan and its implications for CWU members are ongoing. Terry Pullinger, Deputy General Secretary is leading the negotiations for the CWU.


In accordance with the agreed national Dispute Resolution Processes if these negotiations do not produce an agreement in the near future, then both parties will enter into National Mediation. If National Mediation does not produce an agreement then a national dispute is likely to be called.


The CWU seeks an agreement on all of these issues, but we cannot allow Royal Mail to ride roughshod over the 4 Pillars Agreement and the protections we have fought for and secured for members.


We will ensure we keep member fully informed of developments.




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