URGENT MESSAGE FOR BOTH MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS IN THE PROCESSING, DISTRIBUTION AND COLLECTION FUNCTIONS AT PETERBOROUGH MAIL CENTRE.
CHRISTMAS AGREEMENT DISAGREEMENT
It is with regret I must write the following report. For the last 18 years the local Christmas agreement has included the suspension of the EuropeanWorking Time Directive (EWTD) for seasonal workload purposes and all pre-scheduled overtime paid at scheduled attendance (SA) rate of pay for the four weeks of Christmas pressure. The EWTD has been suspended for those members of staff who wish to work more than 70 hours per week without the weekly rest breaks with previous agreements allowing 72, 72, 80 and 80 across the four weeks of Christmas pressure. The pre-scheduled overtime paid at SA rate has been a reward to staff for their commitment and hard work during the busiest time of year and to avoid the task of negotiating, advertising and allocating temporary SA’s for thepressure period.
This year Royal Mail have told us they do not want to pay pre-scheduled overtime at SA rate, and they want to enforce the EWTD across the four weeks of Christmas pressure. The CWU could not agree to this and quickly progressed the disagreement through stages 1&2 of the Industrial Relations Framework (IRF) locally to the stage 3 meeting which was held last week at the Mail Centre. At themeeting several compromises were put forward as potential temporary measures. However, we could not agree on a final compromise withoutdisadvantaging various groups of members of staff. Therefore, the process was progressed to aFlashpoint meeting. This meeting was held yesterday, and we still could not get an agreement and therefore the process has been progressed to a National Intervention Stage 4 meeting.
The Royal Mail/CWU National Industrial Relations Framework Agreement states:
Whilst at disagreement the “Status Quo” will apply which is, the company and its managers will continue to apply all national/local agreements or whatever practice which has been in place for at least one working week prior to entering the disagreement process. This is a contractual legal requirement of the legally binding contract between Royal Mail and the CWU.
The CWU’s views are the status quo in this instance is last year’s Christmas agreement which paid all pre-scheduled overtime at SA rate and the suspension of the EWTD for the four weeks of Christmas pressure. We should go into Christmasthis year following the guidelines of the 2018/19 agreement.
Royal Mail’s view is, whilst we are at disagreement,they will not pay SA rate for any pre-scheduled overtime and will enforce the EWTD on all employees during the Christmas pressure period.
The CWU believe Royal Mail will be breaking thelegally binding Joint National IRF Agreement by taking this executive action.
It is our hope that the National Intervention Stage 4 meeting will take place in time for this year’sChristmas pressure period. However, if this is not the case, we would hope it will take place after Christmas and if successful we would seek retrospective payments for our members who had not been paid at SA rate.
There was a time when Royal Mail staff were recognised and appreciated for the extra hard work and commitment, they gave to provide the service at the busy Christmas time. Sadly, this now seems to be a thing of the past and this issue reflects what is going on Nationally.
EJ Orviss/L Smith
Area/Sub Area Processing Representative