Defending The 4 Pillars Agreement – Reps Brief
A Brief Explanation of TUPE
One element of the dispute is the decision by the RMG Board to create a new company for Parcelforce, called Parcelforce Limited. The new company would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group Limited but would sit outside of the existing RMG Structure.
This planned change will require all existing Parcelforce employees to be legally transferred into the new company.
The relevant law that facilitates the transfers is entitled the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. This is commonly known as TUPE.
This reps brief is designed to provide a brief explanation of TUPE, and Royal Mail’s real intentions regarding Parcelforce.
TUPE emanated from a decision of the European Union Council. The UK Government incorporated TUPE into UK Law, and its primary purpose is to protect employee’semployment and current terms and conditions, when one company is sold to another.
Prior to TUPE, when a company (company A) and its assets were sold to another company (company B), the employees in company A were not protected and could all lose their jobs when the transfer took effect.
TUPE protects employees’ jobs in these circumstances. So, if company A and its assets are sold to company B, then employees in company A do not lose their jobs, they are transferred to company B.
If company B refused to transfer the employees in company A, then these employees would be automatically unfairly dismissed.
Furthermore, at the point of transfer the existing terms and conditions of those employees transferring are protected.
If a substantial change to existing terms and conditions (e.g. pay rates, holiday entitlement etc) takes place as part of the transfer, then affected employees can terminate their contract of employment and will be regarded as unfairly dismissed.
By and large TUPE only protects existing terms and conditions at the point of transfer, and changes to terms and conditions can be proposed post the transfer.
What the Royal Mail Group are proposing regarding Parcelforce is extremely unusual, as this TUPE does not involve two companies.
This TUPE only involves RMG, of which Parcelforce is a part of, establishing a company called Parcelforce Limited, which will be wholly owned by RMG, but crucially will sit outside of the existing Royal Mail Group structure.
Why are Royal Mail Group doing this?
The letter from Parcelforce to its employees lists a number ofreasons:
They say they will have more say over their business decisions. If Royal Mail Group wants to give Parcelforce more say over their business decisions, then the RMG Boardcan easily do this within the existing structures.
They say the change will enable them to innovate faster and grow. If Royal Mail Group wants to give Parcelforce more freedom to innovate and grow, then the Board can do this within the existing structure.
They say they will be able to bring in new technologies and products faster. The letter does not explain how creating a new company which is still fully owned by company that is supposedly holding you back delivers this.
Of course, the truth is this change is completely un-necessary to give Parcelforce more flexibility and freedom to grow. TheRMG Board can deliver all of Parcelforce’s commercial requirements from within the existing RMG Structures.
If Parcelforce requires more commercial freedom then the CWU would work with RMG to facilitate this within the current RMG structure.
This proposed change has everything to do with the RMG Board preparing to outsource and sell off Parcelforce.
Our current legal job security protections prevent RMG from selling off Parcelforce. The company has triggered a review of these protections and will be planning to get rid of this restriction, and if they succeed then the sell off is only a matter of time.
Can this TUPE be undone?
Yes. This TUPE does not involve a sell off from one company to another. There is only one company involved in this planned TUPE – Royal Mail Group. They can stop this planned TIUPE any time they want.
Even if the TUPE takes place, RMG can reverse it any time they want as Parcelforce Limited will be a wholly owned business of RMG.
The true reason RMG are embarking on this course of action is far more sinister than they are stating. They must be prevented from succeeding.
Stay United – Vote YES