Royal Mail Group – 2019 Free Flu Voucher Offer To All Staff Campaign – REMINDER:

Royal Mail Group – 2019 Free Flu Voucher Offer To All Staff Campaign – REMINDER:

Further to LTB 588/2019, issued on the 14 October 2019, this is to remind Branches of the Royal Mail Group – 2019 Free Flu Voucher Offer to all employees and to ask Branch Reps to ensure all members are aware of the offer should they wish to take it up. They have until the 31 December to request a voucher and redeem it at a participating high street Lloyds Pharmacy (or alternative where Lloyds isn’t locally available).

CWU Members can collect a ‘Free Flu Jab Voucher’ from their manager on request. Managers will then print off a voucher for them to take to their local Lloyds Pharmacy branch.  The offer expires on 31 December 2019.

Influenza (flu) is one of our most significant causes of illness during the winter months. Flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus, which is highly contagious. Royal Mail is offering all of the workforce a free flu jab with the opportunity to receive it at a Lloyds Pharmacy (or an alternative pharmacy where Lloyds are not available in the locality).

To receive your flu jab members simply visit a branch of Lloyds Pharmacy with their voucher and their Royal Mail ID card. It’s recommended that they contact the local branch of Lloyds Pharmacy in advance to make an appointment as demand for the flu jab is currently high. To find the nearest local branch visit the Lloyds Website at:- Lloyds Pharmacy

See attached copies of the Campaign Communications:-

  • RMG ‘Free Flu Jab Voucher’ RMTV Screenshot/Poster
  • RMG ‘Free Flu Jab Voucher’ Q & A’s.
  • September and October Communications Messages and WTLLs

The CWU is encouraging members to seriously consider taking up this offer as in 2017 over 31,000 Royal Mail Group employees were affected by the Flu which was over a 31% increase on the previous year with 127,256 days lost with staff off work sick and very ill with the Flu. ‎The estimated cost to the Royal Mail Group was over £41 million.

Some key points to note are as follows:-

  • New recruits are included in the ‘Free Flu Jab’ scheme.
  • Any member who lives 15 miles or over from a Lloyds Pharmacy can use an alternative pharmacy/chemist shop company which is more conveniently located to obtain their flu jab and they will be reimbursed on provision of a receipt, paid via T&S. Prior authorisation from their manager is required.
  • Temporary contract and agency workers with a contract or service which has exceeded or is expected to exceed 12 weeks are included and can request a Flu Jab Voucher.

Your assistance in supporting and promoting the campaign and raising awareness locally within your Branch and constituency area would be welcomed and much appreciated.

Yours sincerely


Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

19LTB680 Royal Mail Group – 2019 Free Flu Voucher Offer To All Staff Campaign – REMINDER

556228_RM_38_Screens_Flu Campaign_1360x768_V4

Common Questions and Answers Sept19 v1 0

Flu Supporting Comms Sept19

Huddle Message 1

Huddle Message 2

Sept Joint Messaging Poster

Sept WTLL Flu Voucher_



The purpose of this LTB is to notify Branches that we are appealing against the decision of the High Court to award Royal Mail an injunction to invalidate our strike ballot.

The appeal will take place on Thursday 28thNovember 2019.

Further information will follow in due course.

In the meantime, any enquiries should be directed to Senior Deputy General Secretary’s Department

Yours sincerely



Dave Ward – General Secretary               

Tony Kearns – Senior Deputy General Secretary                                    

Terry Pullinger – Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

19LTB679 – CWU Appeal Against High Court Decision

General election – Labour manifesto and CWU candidates 

General election – Labour manifesto and CWU candidates 

As you will have seen, the Labour manifesto was published last week setting out its policy platform for the general election. The manifesto has commitments on a number of key policy areas for the union that we have been working on and that we have pushed with Labour including:

  • Re-nationalising Royal Mail at the earliest opportunity and re-uniting it with the Post Office in public ownership;
  • Ending Crown post office closures and setting up a new publicly owned Post Bank through the Post Office network;
  • Massive investment in rolling out full fibre broadband and bringing broadband relevant parts of BT into public ownership;
  • A wide range of new trade union and individual employment rights including sectoral collective bargaining, new access/recognition rights and banning exploitative insecure employment practices;
  • Delivering a 32 hour/4 day shorter working week within a decade;
  • Legislating to allow the CDC scheme agreed with Royal Mail to be introduced;
  • Introducing inclusive ownership funds to give employees a 10% stake in companies they work for; and
  • An ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions and deliver a Green New Deal.

Alongside these commitments, Labour has made a series of announcements on issues from the NHS and housing, to the triple lock on the state pension and free school meals, that would benefit our members and reflect policies that have been passed at CWU conference.

As a result of the above, we believe Labour is going into the election with the strongest commitments we have ever had from a political party on our industries and our members’ priorities and it is extremely important that branches and reps communicate this to members and make the case for a Labour government. A briefing outlining what is at stake is attached to this LTB and we are asking branches to share key messages with members, particularly on our industries and how a Labour government would support our industrial agenda.

Together with these policies, branches will also be aware that we have more CWU members and trade unionists standing as Labour candidates in target seats than we have ever had before, including:

  • Tahir Ali (Birmingham Hall Green) – Engineering and Health & Safety Rep, Birmingham Mail Centre
  • Gareth Eales (Northampton South) – Area Processing Rep, South Midlands Mail Centre
  • Jennifer Forbes (Truro and Falmouth) – former BT engineer, branch Chair and member of the Young Workers Committee
  • Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Bellshill and Chryston) – former Parcelforce driver and rep, Scottish Political Secretary, elected as an MP in 2017
  • Paul Joyce (Daventry) – Health & Safety Rep, South Midlands Postal
  • Matt Kerr (Glasgow South West) – former postman, rep and Scottish Political Secretary
  • Jackie Schneider (Wimbledon) – CWU member, teacher and NEU activist
  • Chris Webb (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) – former postman and CWU activist in the North West Region

Working to support CWU members to be Labour candidates has been a major priority in our political work in recent years and it is important that members are aware of the number of their fellow members we have standing as Labour candidates and the work we have done to ensure it is a party that speaks for them. Having got our members selected it is vital that we get behind and support them and we would urge branches to get involved in local campaigning in the above seats wherever possible. Any queries on how to do so should be directed to the relevant Regional Secretary.

As is clear from the above, there is a huge amount at stake for the CWU in the general election and we will therefore be writing to members setting out what Labour is offering for our industries and in other areas over the next week. Any queries on the contents of this LTB should be addressed to

Yours sincerely,


Dave Ward

General Secretary 

19LTB678 – General election – Labour manifesto and CWU candidates

General election – what’s at stake

Complaints/NDC – Dedicated phone line – 0208 971 7660

Complaints/NDC – Dedicated phone line – 0208 971 7660

I write to advise branches that there is now a dedicated phone line at CWU headquarters for members, reps and branches to call in relation to complaints and the NDC (National Disputes Committee). This number is 0208 971 7660.

This number will lead to a voicemail message informing the caller that they should leave a message and someone will return their call as soon as possible. There will also be signposts for new complaints to the CWU website to view the complaints procedure, download a complaints form and guidelines.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind Branches of the protocol surrounding complaints.

In the first instance attempts should be made locally to respond to and address complaints, especially if they are industrially related. If the complaint cannot be resolved at a local level then it should be forwarded to

All complaints should and will be pursued by the Complaints Procedure within new National Rule 14 which will be to resolve any issues/complaints informally. Complaints will not be automatically referred to the National Disputes Committee.

More information on National Rule 14 and the Complaints Procedure can be found here:

Any queries on this LTB should be addressed to

Yours sincerely,


Tony Rupa
National Disputes Committee Officer

19LTB677- Dedicated Phone Line for Complaints and NDC



Further to LTB 669/19 dated 21st November. Today, via the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Coulson dismissed the Post Office’s application to appeal against the judgment made by Justice Fraser on 15th March in relation to the first Horizon trial – the “Common Issues” trial. In making his judgment, Lord Justice Coulson stated the following: 

“In my view, the judge dealt comprehensively with why he refused permission to appeal in his separate judgment of 17 June 2019 which itself runs to 91 paragraphs. The PO have made their further application to this court without taking on board any of the points made by the judge in that judgment. With one or two minor exceptions, I agree with the judge’s detailed reasons for refusing this application for permission to appeal, and regard them as an answer to the renewed application to this court.”

The Judge also noted:

“Many of the PO’s difficulties now are self-inflicted. For example, as happened during the trial and on the application for permission to appeal both to the judge, and to this court, the PO has consistently put its arguments much too high. It made sweeping statements about the trial and the judgment which were demonstrably wrong.”

In addition he was particularly scathing of the behaviour of the Post Office when he said:

“The PO describes itself as ‘the nation’s most trusted brand’. Yet this application is founded on the premise that the nation’s most trusted brand was not obliged to treat their SPMs with good faith, and instead entitled to treat them in capricious or arbitrary ways which would not be unfamiliar to a mid-Victorian factory-owner (the PO’s right to terminate contracts arbitrarily, and the SPMs alleged strict liability to the PO for errors made by the PO’s own computer system, being just two of many examples). Given the unique relationship that the PO has with its SPMs, that position is a startling starting point for any consideration of these grounds of appeal.”

The full judgment is attached to this LTB for your information. 

Evidently, this is exceptionally good news for the claimants (a total of 557) and further compounds a dire situation for the Post Office whereby all of the previous judgments over the Horizon issues have gone against them. It will be interesting to see whether the Post Office communicates internally on this matter and how they will try and put a brave face on their continued failure in court.

Further developments will be reported and this will include the Judge’s decision on the second trial known as the “Horizon” trial.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

19LTB676 Post Office – Horizon Trial – Court of Appeal Rejection

Attachment 1 to 19LTB676

Royal Mail Materials Handling Containerisation Update & Christmas Arrangements 2019 – Health & Safety Aspects

Royal Mail Materials Handling Containerisation Update & Christmas Arrangements 2019 – Health & Safety Aspects

Below is a summary update on Materials Handling Containerisation Arrangements for the 2019 Christmas period. The contents of this LTB have been discussed and agreed with Royal Mail HQ, Central Containers Team.

1. York Containers

Royal Mail has purchased an additional 10,000 Mk3 York Containers and these, along with 198,000 (Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3) York Containers held in storage, will be injected into the system via the Parcel Sort Centers, RDCs and Amazon. All will be in the network by early December. A total fleet of around 600,000 Yorks will be in service during the Christmas pressure period. The highest number ever.

Royal Mail will be looking for Yorks to be filled with the maximum 7 layers of 4 trays (28 Max), wherever possible subject to safe systems of work, weight constraints of the container and subsequently the vehicle weight limits on to which they will be loaded to comply with Safe Systems of Work and both Health and Safety and Road Traffic Act Legislation.

York Containers primarily carry mainly trays, mailbags, parcels and small parcels and packets in ALP (Auto-Level Packet) Sleeves. They do have other uses, referred to below.

All Mk1, Mk2 and MK3 York Containers introduced in previous years have continued to be maintained, modified and updated through rework programmes as identified by the Royal Mail Assets, Containers and Manual Handling Equipment Team in consultation with the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department and as previously reported in updates to Branches and Area Health and Safety Reps. Mk’s 1, 2 and 3 amount to the vast majority of the 600,000 York Containers.

All Mk 4 York Containers, 10,000 in total will be put into circulation for the Christmas period and as such the “Mandatory” messages outlined within our recent LTB 571/19 to all offices as follows must be complied with: –

  • MK4 Parcel Yorks must not be sent to Mail Centres without PSM machines or to RDCs (other than for cross-docking and onward distribution via the network) or to Delivery Offices (other than those co-located with Collection Hubs).
  • Only people trained in the use of the MK4 York container can handle them – “MANDATORY”.
  • The MK4 Parcel York container is to be used to assist with the automation of parcels through the Royal Mail pipeline.
  • RM see the MK4 as key equipment, crucial to the efficient running of Parcel Sorting Machines (PSMs) and plays a vital role in moving sorted parcels through the pipeline‎.
  • MK4’s are to be used in Mail Centres that have a PSM to dispatch outward traffic to other PSM sites.
  • The “Mandatory” SSoW must be followed always and when used in manual sort areas, the Mark 4 York base must be set in the upper/highest position.
  • There are now 16 Mail Centres with Parcel Sort Machines (PSM) with a further three due to be installed, taking the total to 19.
  • MK4 Yorks are NOT to be sent to Mail Centres without PSM machines or to RDCs or to Delivery Offices.
  • It is crucial that MK4s are returned to PSM sites as quickly as possible to maintain the operation.
  • Although MK4 Yorks can be used across the network – RM needs to focus their use in automation.
  • All storage areas are to be checked for MK4 parcel Yorks and they must be returned to the nearest PSM site.
  • PSM Offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Chelmsford, Gatwick, Glasgow, Greenford, Home Counties North, Jubilee, Leeds, ‎ Manchester, Peterborough, Preston, Sheffield, South Midlands, Swindon and Warrington.
  • Damaged MK4 Yorks should be returned to the Royal Mail Milton Keynes Container Storage site – via existing MHE damaged equipment services, by trained staff.
  • Any incorrect MK4 York use/arrivals to be reported to
  • Mk4 Yorks should not be used for despatches to customers as the small number Royal Mail has are best utilised within the Royal Mail network and to avoid abuse/misuse and accidents at customer premises by untrained staff.
  • Any stray Mk4s should be sent back to PSM plants and not used for other purposes.

York Container SSoW – (See Attachment)

1(a). York Container ALP Sleeves

Royal Mail, over the last 3 years purchased 98,000 new ALP Sleeves all of which were released into the network.  A further 35,000 ALP Sleeves were purchased this year consisting of 14,000 Red Mk1 ALP Sleeves and 21,000 Grey Mk2 ALP Sleeves, which include a modification to allow the ALPs to be automated/tipped within the Parcel Sortation Machine (PSM) Mail Centres (MCs) as part a National Joint Trial as agreed with both the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department and the Postal Department. These ALPs, along with 28,000 Red Mk1 ALPs which were previously held in storage, will now be put into the network in the run up to the Christmas peak.

A further 1,300 Green Mk1 ALP sleeves (for the use of Special Delivery items only) have also been purchased and will be put into the system over the next few weeks.

1(b). York Container – Cardboard Sleeves

This Year Royal Mail has centrally purchased a further 14,000 New Red Mk1 ALP sleeves with 21,000 New Grey MK2 ALP sleeves (with the Automation/Tipping modification of additional straps) still to be put into the network over the next few weeks, as part of the continuing national trial.

However, as Royal Mail moves further into the busiest period at Christmas, and parcel volumes begin to peak, the need to move parcels through the network quickly becomes critical and demand for ALP Sleeves increases. Even though Royal Mail has put 320,000 additional York Containers and 250,000 additional ALP Sleeves in to the network over the last seven years, amounting to 600,000 York’s in circulation with over half of those fitted with an ALP Sleeve, Royal Mail has informed us that with increasing parcel volumes and large tracked customers there may be problems with sites struggling to get sufficient numbers of ALP Sleeves to meet their operational requirements. The Central Container Team will continue to push the Zonal Areas to ensure that they clear their Delivery Offices every day and repatriations from gaining sites take place but they may still struggle to meet the demand at key locations. Royal Mail has assured CWU/HQ that they will do everything possible to ensure that Zonal Areas repatriate as many York Containers and ALP Sleeves as possible out of their Delivery Offices however the business is now seeing the continued increase in parcel volumes and traffic. As a result, Zonal Areas will probably struggle to get sufficient ALP Sleeves back into their Parcel Sort Centre operations and losing Mail Centers to meet demand. As and when critical emergency situations are reached in Offices, Royal Mail has proposed and CWU/HQ has agreed that as a Christmas contingency only, the use of Cardboard Sleeves/York Inserts will be permitted as a last resort – with agreement with the RM CPC/Container Team as follows: –

(a)  As a contingency at Mail Centre’s, PSCs and RDC’s for outward dispatches and inward dispatches.

(b) For outward dispatches by Mail Centres and Parcel Sort Centres.

(c) For 2nd Class parcel dispatches from Mail Centres to PSC’s.

(d) Before this contingency is implemented however the site must ensure that all efforts have been made to get ALPs back from their DO’s and that permission has been sought and been given by the RM Container Team.

(e) Designated and approved Customer Streams to MC and DO (AMZ DI/DDU).

IMPORTANT: – If Cardboard Sleeves/York Inserts are used as a contingency, the site must ensure that:-

(a) The CWU Area Safety Representative and Area Processing Representative are consulted should this contingency need to be implemented.

(b) That the SSoW is followed at all times, rotating duties if necessary.

(c) That the mandatory cross-members and false bases must be fitted and used correctly in Cardboard Sleeved York Containers. Any Offices found not to be compliant with this instruction will be asked to investigate reasons why this has happened and furnish a report on remedial action taken with the report shared with the CWU Area Safety Representative. Such breaches of the SSoW by Management will be viewed as serious!

Once the Christmas pressure period is finished, the contingency use of Cardboard Sleeve Inserts will be withdrawn and Offices will revert back to business as usual with Cardboard Sleeves used on the agreed Amazon/Tracked Contracts only and the parcel operation must revert back to using ALP Sleeves for inward transfers to DOs and outward dispatches to Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres.

The cardboard MUST be in good order; the cross member and base must be inserted in compliance with the SSoW at all times.

Under no circumstances is damaged cardboard to be used and it must be discarded locally.

The current, agreed York Container SSoW (See Attachment) includes a section on the use of Cardboard Sleeves, see extract below:-

“Additional Requirements for York Container Cardboard Sleeves

  • Only to be used for Approved Contracts (Not permitted for any other mail stream)
  • In addition, Cardboard Sleeves can be used in exceptional circumstances only with the approval of CPC/National Containers Team.
  • DO NOT use sleeves for packets weighing more than 10kg.
  • Use the false base and cross support at all times.
  • When sorting from a sleeve, open the lower part of the sleeve to improve access to packets at the bottom.
  • When sorting from a sleeve, position the York to minimise twisting – use your feet to turn and not your body.
  • DO NOT tip bags into cardboard sleeves.
  • Before moving the York, close the sleeve to retain the contents.”

For reference to the Safe Systems of Work (SSoWs) for York Containers and the new design Mk2 Cardboard Sleeves‎ (See Attachment).

1(c). York Containers – Loading Parcels of a Shoe Box Size or larger.

In previous years both Royal Mail, Tracked Customer and Amazon had concerns about the shortage of York Containers across the network and additional costs incurred by losing approximately 15% of York fill capacity when inserting Cardboard Sleeve false bases into York Containers. In line with the York Container SSoW, York Containers will be filled and stacked with parcels/packets larger than shoe box size without any form of Cardboard Sleeve or false base etc. This approach is only applied to larger items and Sleeves, Bases and Cross Members will not be removed for smaller packet items, i.e., those smaller than a shoe box size. Those packets will continue to be loaded into York Containers with either an ALP Sleeve (preferable) or a full Cardboard Sleeve with a cross-member and false base fitted. This was jointly examined and found to be the best approach.

The York Container SSoW states under the heading of ‘Approved Loads’ that ‘Loose strapped bundles, Boxes, provided they are of sufficient dimensions, such as they will be retained by the load retention straps and container framework.’  (See Attachment).

This approach has been ergonomically tested and approved prior to concluding the York Container SSoW. It makes both safety and business sense to apply this principle for larger parcels which are not suitable for loose loading into sleeved Yorks in most cases.

1(d). York Containers – Use of Shrink-Wrap/Cling-Film

The existing agreed national policy remains as follows “There is no agreement whatsoever to use “Shrink-Wrap/Cling-Film” on York Containers under any circumstances. Also, Opsflash – CPC (2008) No 167 instructs all sites that have received new trays delivered on pallets and shrink wrapped to remove and dispose of the shrink wrap immediately. There are NO circumstances where the shrink-wrapping of Yorks is acceptable. This practice must not be allowed at any RM site.

2. RSCs Rigid Stackable Container

4,000 RSC’s will be released from storage between November and Christmas into the RDC network.

RSCs are not intended for use inside Mail Centres and Delivery Offices and are primarily for the Distribution Centre’s network and warehouse environments where there is sufficient space and where risk assessment and Safe Systems of Work requirements apply, in respect of workplace transport hazards from FLTs and crush hazards etc., specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) regulations requirements also apply in these work environments, e.g., high visibility clothing and protective footwear. RSCs may only be used in risk controlled working environments as per the Safe Systems of Work.

3. FSC Folding Stackable Containers 

20,500 FSCs (a folding version of the RSC) have now been purchased by Royal Mail since 2011. These will be used in areas where they give best cost benefits i.e., sites with limited floor space and gaining sites that can repatriate the units back out more cost effectively as they can be folded down.

Safe Systems of Work (SSoW) are located on a plate on the side of the container. (See Attachment).

MCs/DOs should not receive FSCs, however, if received they should be returned to the local RDC as soon as possible.

4. Cardboard RSCs

As originally reported in LTB 632/05 and successfully utilised during successive Christmas pressure periods since 2005, Cardboard RSCs were introduced to provide additional storage for mail sort Christmas deferred mailings, empty bags and empty trays. These are used primarily in the RDC network over the Christmas period and are being introduced for the storage of empty bags; empty trays and Mail Sort 3 Christmas deferred mailing items during the Christmas pressure period. They will also be used for some bagged customer postings.

These are folding, heavy-duty cardboard containers with the base fixed to a standard wooden pallet.

200 Cardboard RSCs have been held in storage and are available as a contingency for an additional container during the Christmas peak period and intended:

  • For use for Deferred Mailings during the Christmas peak period.
  • For use anywhere in Royal Mail’s network and at customer premises.
  • For storage of empty bags and trays to release RSCs into the network.
  • For conveyance of empty bags to customers.
  • For empty bags, empty trays and bags of mail.

Cardboard RSCs are intended to be:

  • A reusable container.
  • Used indoors and in the RDC network, but NOT for external storage where they may get wet.
  • Folded flat when being stored empty.

Cardboard RSCs are:

  • NOT compatible with the standard Steel RSC and must not be stacked with any other container type.
  • NOT to be used for bundled/strapexed mail, trayed mail, small loose parcels or any heavy items.

Cardboard RSCs must be kept under the roof and not exposed to outside elements or humidity.  A minimum four uses per cardboard RSC must be achieved.  Damaged cardboard RSCs must be cannibalised to maintain serviceable stocks.  Vehicles can accommodate more empty cardboard RSCs than steel RSCs per trip. Offices should prioritise the repatriation of serviceable cardboard RSCs ahead of steel RSCs. Cardboard RSCs are produced by, ‘DS Smith’. They are constructed of triple ply corrugated cardboard and are approximately 1.2m wide x 1m deep x 950mm high. They consist of 3 parts: A cardboard tray mounted on a standard 1200 x 1000 mm wooden pallet. A folding sleeve which folds to fit inside the base tray and can be assembled to construct the Pallet Box. A cardboard lid which fits over the sleeve when assembled and over the Base Tray when the sleeve is folded flat inside the Base Tray. They have a carrying capacity of 650kg as a single or double stack. The approximate weight filled with empty trays is 85kg – filled with bags of mail 340kg.

Cardboard RSCs may only be stacked as follows:

  • 3 high when assembled and loaded with empty bags and empty trays.
  • 2 high when assembled and loaded with mail.
  • 10 high when delivered new, strapped and unused.
  • 8 high when empty and folded flat.

Cardboard RSCs may be moved by:

  • MHE stacked 2 high assembled and 8 high when empty and folded flat.
  • Using a forklift, a powered or a hand pallet lifter.

Cardboard RSCs may be secured and moved by vehicle.

The Cardboard RSC SSoW – (See Attachment)   

5. ‘A’ Frame Roll Containers 

As originally reported in LTBs 838/06 and 840/06, 12,000 supermarket type “Roll Cage” Containers were introduced in 2006 by the Royal Mail Group Procurement Operational Equipment Team, manufactured by “Palletower” and “Cargo Pak”. They were strictly intended for internal use (inside Offices) and for storage purposes only, in order to free up much needed York Containers. Since their introduction, the number of York Containers has doubled and the limitations of these “Roll Cages” have seen them become outmoded against the all-round far superior York Container. These Containers have therefore and will continue to be run down, phased out and withdrawn from Royal Mail service. SSOW – (See Attachment)

For removals of the Containers please contact:

6. Loose Loading of Mail Bags – Christmas 2019

Further to enquiries and concerns raised by Branches and Area Safety Reps in previous years regarding possible loose loading, Royal Mail has confirmed they will be taking a number of steps to ensure that loose loading of mail should only take place in exceptional circumstances, as a last resort.

If loose loading has to occur, local CWU Reps will be consulted and the Manual Handling/Loose Loading SSOW will be adhered to. 

Clear instructions have been issued by Royal Mail HQ CPC that should any service which is normally containerised have to be loose loaded, then the dispatching unit must inform the receiving unit in advance so that they can provide any additional staff resources and working arrangements which may be necessary to ensure health and safety standards are maintained.

Extract from Loose loading Core Risk Assessment: – 

It is a Royal Mail goal that no manual handling task will exceed risk level 2.  Mail Bags average 7kg, maximum gross weight 11kg. Lifting frequency up to 7 bags/minimum over a 30 min period (then rest). Vehicle doors are adequately maintained and must be in good working order.

Priority Services bags could exceed 11kgs but they should be clearly labelled with the weight so that special consideration can be given to lifting. NB: No Priority Services bag exceeding 11kgs should contain more than 1 item. All equipment is used in accordance with the appropriate Safe System of Work. All staff to have received manual handling training and instruction or refresher training during the past 3 years.  All staff to understand and operate the appropriate Safe System of Work. If there are any tasks that are not listed, the manager must consult the safety team for further advice. No pregnant worker or person under 18 should undertake tasks greater than risk level 1.

7. Plastic Letter Trays

Last year RM purchased 1m trays which stayed in the system. Royal Mail has purchased an additional 700,000 trays this year and all will be released from stores and delivered directly from suppliers during October, November and December.

8. New Blue Bags for International Dispatches

2.5 million new blue bags for international dispatches have been purchased this year and will be fed into Mail Centers via direct delivery in November ready for the DSL Operation.

New RM International MB4L bags for automation:

RM International has this year deployed a new larger Blue Bag for use within its Automation Streams known as the MB4L. These bags are not to be used in RM domestic postings and are designed for export only and only to be handled and used within RM International Sites.

9. Pallets – Transportation, Processing, Unloading and Stacking of Pallets

This year Royal Mail has again faced an increased requirement from bulk customers to accept and process palletized loads, including shrink/stretch wrapped palletized traffic. The SSoWs have therefore been reviewed to ensure sufficient up to date information and instruction is available to allow Offices and managers to control safety risks for the specific tasks and ensure the correct work methods are adopted and materials handling equipment deployed for this increasing area of work to ensure it can be completed safely. The new, updated SSoW and associated, embedded SSoWs are attached. This includes embedded documents – Pallet Truck SSoW, DDT SSoW, Palletising of Trays SSoW, and Manual Handling SSoW. (See Attachment).

10. Repatriation of York Containers, ALPs, Trays and Cardboard

To ensure we keep our sites safe and clear throughout our busiest time of year with the largest volume of containers within the network, Delivery Offices are to ensure that MHE repatriations are presented in the agreed locations and fully nested and consolidated in line with the York SSoW and identified on the offices Yard Risk Assessment.  This will ensure we not only avoid congestion and potential safety issues but will also ensure we can maintain supply of our customers so that we can deliver a fantastic service.

We encourage our members and local WSR/ASRs to report container volume issues within their respective Delivery Offices to so that they can assist in site clearances and ensure we support the operation and customer requirements.

11. Repair of Faulty & Damaged Containers, Sleeves, Trays

All damaged containers must be withdrawn and repaired before being brought back into service. The following instructions relate to the repair of the individual containers:

(a) Letter Trays

  • Royal Mail has an agreement with one plastics group for the recycling of RM letter trays, for which Royal Mail receives payment.  For this to be cost effective AAC Ltd will only accept complete trailer loads of trays, equating to 5200 trays.  This process describes the use of a collection point to ensure that trays are recycled and do not build up in offices.
  • Trays must be removed from use if damaged and not suitable for use if, for example:

–      There are any obvious physical defects such as breakages or holes (other than those designed).

–      The tray sides or bottom are split.

–      The handle is damaged e.g., split.

–      The label holder is damaged in such a way as to render it unusable.

  • The tray is NOT deemed damaged if only:

–      The barcode or barcode clip is missing.

–      The tray bottom is bowed.

–      Only the corners are chipped and then only if the break does not leave a jagged or pointed edge.

  • Ensure the damage sustained to trays meets the criteria described above.
    All Mail Centres and Delivery Offices should have a process for identifying damaged trays and for isolating them from operational use.  Delivery Offices should label the trays as damaged and send them to their local Mail Centre for consolidation and recycling.
  • All damaged trays should be loaded to RSCs.  The trays should be nested, where possible 8 to a layer and 9 layers high, where the height of the trays does not exceed the height of the RSC sides. RSCs of damaged trays should be labelled as shown below and then sent to the local RDC for onward movement to NDC. Spare capacity on existing runs only should be utilised.



  • NDC to consolidate the RSCs of damaged trays and, when a trailer is loaded to capacity, forwards them to One 51 Plastic.

(b) York Containers

Examples of damage:

  • Sharp, jagged or pointed hazards.
  • Anything, which prevents proper assembly.
  • Anything, which prevents proper movement.
  • Temporary or amateur repairs.
  • Broken welds.
  • Excessive corrosion.
  • Damaged or missing wheels.
  • Missing wheel retaining nuts, pins or clips.
  • Poor brake operation.
  • Damaged or defective towing arrangements.
  • Missing or damaged straps or clips.

The repair process is as follows:

  • A number of sites have been nominated to receive a scheduled visit by a York repair team (currently RMP&FS).
  • Some sites also act as a consolidation site looking after a catchment area of other offices. For example SDC in Wishaw receives all of the damaged/strapless Yorks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • A contact at each site has been developed and a location for the storage and repair of Yorks identified.
  • Each Thursday a count of damaged Yorks is submitted by each site to the Royal Mail mhe_cpc e-mail inbox and the figures are used to plan a schedule for the following week’s site visits. Some offices may have a team that visits every day whilst others will be visited by mobile teams as required. The minimum requirement is that there be 50 Yorks needing repair on site.
  • A repairer can replace anything up to 100 straps per day but, if there are structural repairs also needing to be done, the overall number can reduce substantially. The repairer will check each damaged York for other possible problems and does not solely rely on the fault noted by Royal Mail staff.

Damaged Yorks may be moved, on existing services, from non-repairing sites to a consolidation site (see repair process above) to await repair. Damaged Yorks should be labelled accordingly so that the receiving site is aware.

Damaged Yorks must not, however, be used to form part of a movement order to another site and should never be sent to a customer. Neither should damaged Yorks knowingly be used to convey mail through the network.

Some straps have given the appearance of losing their elasticity but tests have been carried out at the manufacturer and replicated by our engineers in Swindon and the results show that this does not affect load retention or the safety of the York. It is not, therefore, necessary to replace such straps.

Short Strap repairs, can be carried out locally at any site for more information contact  

(c) RSC and FSC

  • Examples of damage to an RSC/FSC are as follows;

–      Sharp, jagged or pointed hazards.

–      Anything which prevents proper assembly or movement.

–      Temporary or amateur repairs.

–      Broken welds.

–      Broken side wires bent inwards or outwards.

–      Excessive corrosion.

–      Mis-aligned feet or spigots which hinder stacking.

  • In these circumstances, an ‘Out of Service’ label must be attached and the nature of the problem noted on the label.
  • Damaged RSCs/FSC’s should be moved to a designated area to await repair. They may only be stacked if the uprights are intact and make contact with the RSC/FSC above at all 4 corners.  They may not be stacked if to do so would leave an unstable stack.  If in doubt – DO NOT STACK.
  • Damaged RSCs/FSC’s must be forwarded to NDC for onward movement to MK Stores for repair. Movements of damaged RSCs should be agreed with the local Container Equipment Manager beforehand.

(d) Auto Levelling Packet Sleeves

  • A minimum of 25 sleeves will be presented for repair in a single consignment.  Sleeves are to be packed in Rigid Stackable Containers (each containing 25 sleeves).
  • Clearly labelled damaged RSCs are to be returned to SWDC for onward movement back to the manufacturer Jacon.

(e) York Cardboard Sleeves

  • Cardboard Sleeves are not repairable. Any damaged sleeves must be disposed of by local arrangement.
  • Any re-usable parts of cardboard sleeves must be returned to Amazon; whether by direct transfer or via the nearest RDC.
  • Cardboard inserts to be stored/transferred in York’s or palletised on at Regional Distribution Centre’s using good pallets.
  • If held/stored onsite ahead of transfer they must be kept under cover or protected from the weather.
  • All component parts must be in good order (certainly not water damaged or torn) and ready to use. Any not meeting these criteria should be disposed of locally.
  • Yorks must be individually packed i.e., no mixed component parts please. Yorks to separately contain X Member/Sides/Bases which must be stacked neatly.
  • Any transfers arriving at Amazon that do not meet these criteria may be refused by the Amazon Team.

(f) Cardboard RSCs

Any damage needs to be checked. The following damage would render the Cardboard RSC unusable:

  • Water damaged/wet cardboard.
  • Tears greater than 25%/¼ of the length of any one side or along any seam.
  • Tears in 2 adjoining corners of the tray or lid.
  • Staples in the seam undone with exposed points.
  • Broken Pallet Base such that the wooden planks are broken or the corner blocks are damaged such that they would not support a load.

The following would not necessarily render the Cardboard RSC unusable:

  • Small holes in the side walls, for example made by fork lift tines.
  • Small tears, i.e., less than 25%/¼ of the length of any one side or along any Seam.
  • One tear in the corner of the tray or lid.

If there is any doubt as to the safe condition of the Cardboard RSC, then it must be considered damaged. Any damage which renders the sleeve unusable needs to be reported and the damaged part (i.e., the lid, sleeve or tray) marked with a cross from a thick marker pen. Only the damaged part needs to be marked as the undamaged parts may be used as spares.

Transport and transfer equipment must meet the receiving customer’s safety requirements.

(g) Wheeled Container Repair Process including Mini Yorks (Other than York Containers)

The following process should be used to keep wheeled containers functional:

  1. When a wheeled container (other than a Yorks) is found to be faulty, remove it from operational service and label it accordingly.
  2. Log the fault with the Properties & Facilities Helpdesk on 0870 850 1000, who will give a reference number. The Helpdesk will then contact RMP&FS, who allocates the work to the local coordinator. A RMP&FS engineer then plans and completes the repair.
  3. If the repair is not economical, the engineer condemns the equipment and advises the Unit Manager. The Unit Manager then decides if they want it replaced, and completes a Requisition Form ECF01 and sends it to the Asset Support Team.
  4. When the repair is completed, RMP&FS invoice through the Inter Business Agreement, which is funded from the central assets budget. Area budgets are not affected.

(h)  General note on containers:

If there are any surplus containers on site that are not damaged and you are unsure of where to send them, you should consult your Regional Head of Assets for Yorks, Trays and Sleeves or your Container Equipment Manager for RSCs.

14. Contacts & Phone Numbers – IMPORTANT

Should Area Safety Representatives wish to discuss any issues or questions in relation to Container Control or Container Equipment, the following field managers can be contacted for all Royal Mail Container related issues:-

National Team Contacts

National Asset Supply Chain Manager                            Gary Yeo – 07872 636537

National Container Supply & MHE Manager                      Ian MacDonald – 07436 560875

Container Manager North                                                   Clare Smith – 07872816461

Belfast, SDC, Edinburgh, Perth, Inverness and

Aberdeen, Warrington, Chester, NWDC, NWPSC

Tyneside, Darlington, Preston, Chorley,

Carlisle, Manchester, Stockport, Leeds,

Bradford, York, YDC, Sheffield, Doncaster and

Hull, Nottingham, NEPSC, East Midlands Airport

Crewe, Shrewsbury

Container Manager South                                                   Sid Rajan – 07802 921737

HCN, NHCDC, Greenford, PRDC, Jubilee, Guilford and

Woking, Derby, Coventry,

Leicester, Peterborough, Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich

Chelmsford, Southend, Medway, SEDC, Canterbury,

Tonbridge, Croydon, Gatwick, London Central,

South Warwick, Victoria, Romford and Whitechapel

Container Manager Amazon (All Sites)                           Chris Rogers – 07860 172019

Container Manager International                                     Nalin Mandalia – 07715480197

HWDC and LAMU, Atherstone international

15. Health & Safety Processes

From a Health and Safety point of view the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department will continue our joint work with Gary Yeo RM National Asset Supply Chain Manager and Ian MacDonald RM National Container Supply & MHE Manager along with the SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) Team and the RMPFS Property Safety and Compliance Team to monitor health and safety throughout the Christmas Operations.

16. IR Aspects

The IR aspects of the Christmas pressure period are dealt with by the Postal Department.  All Operational enquiries should be addressed to the appropriate Postal Department Operational Officer.


  1. York Container SSoW
  2. Cardboard RSC SSoW
  3. Roll Cage/’A’ Frame SSoW & ‘Joint Statement’
  4. FSC – SSoW
  5. Pallets – SSoWs
  6. York Mk 4 SSoW & Info/Briefing Docs
  7. York Cardboard Sleeve SSoW

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

19LTB675 Royal Mail Materials Handling Containerisation Update & Christmas Arrangements 2019 – Health & Safety Aspects

York Container Mk 4 Additional Requirements SSoW v2.1

York and Mini-York Safe System Of Work v3.1

Transportation, Processing, Unloading & Stacking of Pallets

National Communication on MK2 ALP sleeve with CWU

MK2 ALP Fitting Instructions

Foldable Stackable Containers SSOW

Cardboard Sleeve York Container Additional Requirements SSoW v1.1

Cardboard RSCs SSOW

Appendix 7



CWU Dispute with Royal Mail Group

CWU Dispute with Royal Mail Group

Further to LTB 662/19, please find attached for your information (Appendix 1) an exchange of correspondence that has taken place today between myself and Rico Back, CEO of Royal Mail Group, the content of which is self-explanatory.

This was an opportunity for Rico Back to respond to all of the issues in the CWU’s open letter (sent on 15th November 2019) and to reassure everyone that their public offer of talks was genuine. Unfortunately however he has not grasped that opportunity and has failed to answer any of the significant issues raised by the CWU. We can therefore only assume that his letter is another stunt to try and satisfy the shareholders and investors as RMG published their half yearly results.

Sadly his letter is meaningless and offers no more than what has already been offered. Nothing has changed and we will continue to campaign, appeal the High Court injunction and re-ballot if necessary in defense of our Agreements, our members and this great public service.

You will note that I have again requested a proper formal response which addresses all of the issues in the CWU’s open letter, many of which were External Mediator recommendations.

In light of the above, ‘National Gate Meeting Day’ tomorrow needs to be loud and proud, and as powerful as possible because the business, opinion formers, shareholders and investors need to understand that we will not be moved and we will continue to fight until we achieve an acceptable resolution to this dispute.

Branches and Representatives are asked to give this LTB the widest possible circulation and to ensure that it is brought to the attention of all colleagues in advance of National Gate Meeting Day tomorrow. We shall not be moved.

Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.

Yours sincerely,


Terry Pullinger

Deputy General Secretary (Postal)  

19LTB674. CWU Dispute with Royal Mail Group

LTB 674.19 Appendix 1 Correspondence Exchanged between DGSP & R. Back CEO of RMG

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