Distribution of Coronavirus COVID 19 Testing Kits – SAC1 Health and Safety – Ongoing RM/CWU National Review

Distribution of Coronavirus COVID 19 Testing Kits – SAC1 Health and Safety – Ongoing RM/CWU National Review

As detailed in LTB 161/20 the government has announced that Royal Mail will have a role in the distribution of Coronavirus testing kits to NHS and Social Care frontline staff currently in isolation and will be exclusively responsible for the collection of these kits.

Whilst the CWU welcomes the government’s decision to entrust this crucial task to the Royal Mail network, the priority of the CWU H&S Department is the health, safety and wellbeing of our members, the workforce. Appropriate consultation and discussions have been taking place at a senior level with the business.

In consultation with Government medical advisors and with the involvement of Dave Joyce, CWU Health, Safety & Environment Officer, the risk of carrying the NHS COVID – 19 testing kits has been assessed and controls put in place to ensure that handling them is safe. The packaging meets the United Nations standard for this type of specimen and so will not leak. As an additional precaution, in case the outside of the packaging has been contaminated, employees are instructed to cover them with a plastic bag, without touching them, the first time they are handled. All the safety controls identified have been included in the design of the processes and are described in the Operational Handouts that have been produced and communicated to managers and employees.

The attached documentation provides more details on the process and safety arrangements drawn up with input from the RMG Central SHE Team and RMG Occupational Health and Ergonomics Manager

Throughout the operational process colleagues are reminded to observe strict handwashing guidelines before and after handling mail. Royal Mail has confirmed that hand sanitiser is now available to all collections and delivery staff.  Gloves are available, and as an additional safety precaution we recommend gloves are worn by collection drivers

There will be ongoing RM/CWU review at national level, including a weekly conference to ensure oversight.  To this end, the CWU H&S Department requests Branch ASRs monitor arrangements in their Branch areas and localities, feeding back queries and questions to the CWU H&S Department. These queries and questions will be logged with the RMG Dangerous Goods Advisor, Governance and Compliance and will be discussed as part of the ongoing national review.

Yours sincerely

Ray Ellis
Acting Health & Safety Officer

20LTB166 Distribution of Coronavirus COVID 19 Testing Kits – SAC1 H&S

Coronavirus Testing Kits SAC1 (SHEI 5.3) (v2.3)

Dave Joyce Covid 19 Testing Kit Service v1

For members that are concerned about self-isolation issues and pay related matters

The aim of this post is to assist members that are concerned about self-isolation issues and pay related matters

If a family member shows signs of COVID-19 (as determined by NHS e.g. high-temp or new persistent dry cough) then you are to go into self-isolation for 14-days.

To get paid by Royal Mail you’ll need to get a medical note, this can be sourced by clicking on this link https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note – without this then the second week would not attract pay as you would only have a 7-day self-certificated absence, without a medical note for the last 7-days.

If you show signs as described above, then its 7-days self-isolation, if you are better, then you return to work, if you feel unwell still you need to get medical advice.

Hope this has helped


Distribution of Coronavirus Testing Kits – RM Operational Documentation 

Distribution of Coronavirus Testing Kits – RM Operational Documentation

Further to LTB 161/20 Branches and representatives will be aware that Royal Mail will be involved in the delivery, collection from priority postboxes and processing of Coronavirus Testing Kits on behalf of the Government/NHS. The CWU supports this initiative as a key public service initiative in support of NHS workers, deployed in line with the principles contained in the union’s letter to Rico Back of the 30th March 2020 on an Emergency Measures Response to the escalating Coronavirus Pandemic.

Attached for the information are the following operational documents that have been prepared and released by Royal Mail in preparation for the commencement of the initiative:

  • Annex A: Managers Brief
  • Annex B: Handout for Collections & Delivery
  • Annex C: Handout for Processing
  • Annex D: Handout for Inward Processing

Colleagues should note that while cross functional discussions have taken place with Royal Mail to understand the operational arrangements, the attached are business documents that we have not had any direct input into. In particular the references to the CWU and our representatives included in the Managers Brief were not discussed or agreed with the union in advance of publication.

Also attached at Annex E is additional information that has been supplied by the business in respect of the Covid-19 testing program, which may be of assistance to Branches and representatives when dealing with enquiries or any issues that are raised.

Discussions are continuing between the CWU Health and Safety Department and the business to ensure that all necessary SSOW are in place and Branches will be updated accordingly.

Branches and representatives are requested to ensure that this LTB and the attached documentation is given the widest publication and brought to the attention of members as soon as possible.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to:

Processing: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.org quoting reference: 014.14


Deliveries/Collections: Mark Baulch, Assistant Secretary, email outdoorsecretary@cwu.org quoting reference: 170

Yours sincerely

Davie Robertson – Assistant Secretary

Mark Baulch – Assistant Secretary


Annex A – Managers brief – Antigen test kits

Annex B Antigen test kit – handout for Collections and Delivery

Annex C Antigen test kit – handout for Processing

Annex D Antigen test kit – handout for Inward Processing

Annex E – Covid Testing Kit

Social Distancing – Guidance for Collection Operations

Social Distancing – Guidance for Collection Operations

Dear Colleagues, Disclaimer : Although these are adequate guidelines to adhere to regards safety on duty please note this is a royal mail document and not CWU agreed. Thank you

Dear Colleagues,

Social Distancing – Guidance for Collection Operations The Government guidelines on social distancing are that people should stay two meters apart in order to prevent spreading or catching infection. Our operational goal is to look at how we can achieve that for our people. Please ensure you let staff know that these changes are being implemented through small touchpoint huddles – no WTLL to take place New Ways of Working One person, one van rule. (no coaching/training) There should be only one person in a Royal Mail vehicle at any one time.

Everyone should wash their hands when coming in to and leaving the office, as well as at regular times during the day

. Cease WTLL sessions, and implement small touchpoint huddles adhering to social distancing rules.

Arrange indoor and outdoor operations to adhere to the two metre social distancing guidelines * * * Guidance: Below is a list of options that can be used in different collection hubs to support localised solutions. This list is not exhaustive and there may be better options for your units. General: Look at staggering start times to reduce contact and helps with hand washing when people arrive / leave.

Stagger meal reliefs if taken indoors to reduce the number of attending the canteen at a given time.

Arrange the canteen to ensure seating is 2 meters apart or if the canteen is too small, shut the canteen so people need to take breaks out on delivery Indoor operations Locker/Keys & Tabs: Ensure there only one person in a Key/SD locker or confined room etc, unless there is sufficient room to operate whilst maintain the two-meter advised social distancing.

When handing out keys apply a marker two metres away from the counter. Instruct people to stand behind the line and wait for keys, log books etc to be placed on the counter then wait for the colleague behind the counter to step back two meters before collecting the items.

Put in place a verbal baton passing for collecting items at the locker to prevent a queue forming i.e. walk 1 goes up first then let’s walk 2 know they can go up (maintaining the distance guidance) Outdoor Operations General: There should be only one person in a RM vehicle at any one time. Ensure that there are two sets of keys in use for the vehicle if possible On Collection: Reduced collections may provide more vehicle opportunity for Delivery- scope collection vans not used until later in the day should be fully utilised were possible.

MC collection vehicles to be used for delivery fully utilising window before collections start

Look at combining an LAT duty with a collection duty

All other safeguarding SOPs on outdoor processes should continue to be followed.

Avoid stopping to greet/talking to people on route, acknowledge them from a distance with a nod or a wave. If you need to pass someone on collection, move in to a driveway/path until the person has passed and is two meters away

• Particular care needs to be taken around the elderly and other vulnerable people, they will be more at risk from our employees than our employees are from them. • Move to a staggered shift pattern. Where possible people should continue with their normal duty Letter & Parcel Boxes Please be mindful of any members of the public that may be in the vicinity, be polite and ask them to give you a safe distance to collect the mail. If someone is approaching to post mail, step a safe distance away from the box and ask them to post the mail and then move a safe distance away so you can continue with your task. POLs: Distancing rules will need to be adhered to when collecting parcels over the counter and the associated paperwork. There should be a marker on the customer side of the counter highlighting two metres distance.

Ask any customers in the vicinity to remain 2m until the process has been completed. The POL representative must look to remain two metres apart at all times, ask them to place the collection mails on the floor at the 2m point and place associated paperwork on top of it. The POL representative must then return behind the counter any you can continue with moving the mail to your vehicle.

Return any paperwork by following the same process. Business: When collecting from a business premises, follow the same guidelines as above, maintain the 2m social distance as appropriate. UTR All other safeguarding SOPs on CSP processes should continue to be followed.

Cease multiple people working on the same sorting frames When segregating mail colleagues should stand one person to one table and leave 2m clear between each individual.

Only one person to despatch at any time.

Stagger meal breaks around tie down to reduce the number of people in the aisle at any one time.

Load/unload assist duties to ensure social distancing guideline are met when unloading at collection hubs and segregating into direct yorks

A Statement by the CWU on an Emergency Measures Response to the Escalating Coronavirus Pandemic, Maintaining a National Postal Network and Saving Lives.

A Statement by the CWU on an Emergency Measures Response to the Escalating Coronavirus Pandemic, Maintaining a National Postal Network and Saving Lives.

The CWU believe that the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for our members, the public we serve and across UK society as a whole. Given the escalating infection rates and increasing emergency measures being taken in response to the spread of the Coronavirus we believe that decisive action is now required to keep our members and the general public safe.
Royal Mail Group is now considered a key service to serve and link our communities through the crisis, however like all other organisations still operating it now requires its own emergency measures to perform its vital role whilst also being focused on ensuring it minimises the risk to its employees and wider public in regards to increased contagion. Our absolute priority now must be to secure and maintain essential services to the country, while reducing risk and saving lives.
The CWU believe that following measures should now be adopted:
➢ Royal Mail Group cannot operate during this time from a commercial perspective, all efforts now should be on maintaining a national network by prioritising essential work only and maximising the safety of its employees.

➢ Royal Mail Group and the CWU should lobby Government and the Regulator to adjust standards and obligations to deliver 1st & 2nd Class USO mail and parcels only with relaxed ‘next day’ criteria to enable the measures below.

➢ Publicity should then be given to the fact that they RMG are now an arm of Government and the state in respect of maintaining a vital national postal service during this crisis and are not functioning as commercial operation but a national vital service.

➢ All employees should only be compelled to work alternate days, or 3 days per week thereby cutting in half the amount of people in any operational unit on any one day, this is to enable strict social distancing and total equipment cleansing prior to each day are carried out.

➢ All PPE must be in place or the operation will be suspended. No CWU member or member of the public should be placed at risk due to a lack of essential equipment.

➢ Workload should be prioritised to secure deliveries of essential medical supplies to Hospitals, Doctors, Health Centres, Pharmacies, USO mail and priority parcels.

➢ The CWU recognise the differences in operational arrangements and product specifications across Royal Mail Group. Specific revised operational arrangements should be confirmed for deliveries across Royal Mail, Parcelforce and RMSS/Relay to ensure the above principles. Options could include alternating route coverage while ensuring connection of essential goods or urgent medical supplies.

➢ Other than Government or NHS advice literature, in Royal Mail, D2D contracts should be suspended until after the crisis.

➢ Every effort should now be made to secure the testing of RMG employees to identify and respond to high risk in all units.

➢ Everyone over 65 should only be at work if they are happy to do so and if not should be placed on Special Leave with full pay for the duration of the absence

➢ All vulnerable/at risk employees as identified by Public Health England advice should all now be on Special Leave with full pay for the duration of the absence

➢ All employees with vulnerable/at risk people at home should be allowed 12wks on Special Leave with full pay

➢ Where someone within the work location has been diagnosed with the virus that building should not be used until the necessary deep clean has taken place before re-opening for business.

➢ These arrangements cease the need for the use of private cars and that contingency should now be removed.

➢ Agency workers should only be used in the event that there is a genuine shortfall in the alternative working daily resourcing and the prioritised delivery of 1st & 2nd Class mail and parcels. (all agency must meet strict vetting criteria)

In the Post Office Network Operations:
➢ All PPE must be in place in each and every workplace (including the Supply Chain operation and vehicles) or the operation will be suspended where this isn’t happening

➢ Transactions & services performed across the entire Post Office network should be reduced to absolute essential items only which support communities and the vulnerable/disadvantaged together with the revised Royal Mail operation

➢ All Post Offices should close at 1pm Monday to Friday and 12.30pm on Saturday

➢ Anyone over 65 should be attending work only if they are comfortable and confident to do so

➢ Employees should only have to work alternative days to enable strict social distancing and total equipment / workstation cleansing prior to each day. This means no more than 3

➢ Social Distancing must operate in each and every Post Office without exception. Where this is not undertaken the service will be closed until this operation can be put in place in order to protect those providing essential Post Office services including Crew and Collection Drivers



Dear Colleagues,

Branches and members will be aware that parcels competition continues to increase with competitors expanding their networks and delivering enhanced customer services. The Outdoor Department has been in discussions with Royal Mail in order to jointly work together to develop and introduce new commercial and operational initiatives as part of the joint growth agenda.

In line with the above, the current environment requires Royal Mail’s operation to be responsive and efficient in order to fend off increasing competition and protect the USO, while also increasing the potential for growth and embracing new products and services.

Branches will recall that when PDAs were deployed, finger scanner accessories were also deployed for Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres, recognising the benefit that could be achieved from not holding the PDA to undertake a large volume of scans whilst sorting. Tracked volumes have grown at double digit percentage levels each year since the launch and this in turn has increased the number of parcels being handled and scanned in delivery offices. This is especially pronounced in units which handle Tracked Returns for retailers.

Accordingly, we have agreed with Royal Mail to jointly trial the use of finger scanner accessories (paired to the existing PDAs) in a number of large receiving Delivery Offices. This is to confirm whether there is a beneficial case for their use on a more widespread basis, and to also inform when a tipping point might occur in terms of the volume of parcels and whether or not this is appropriate for all parcel sizes, or more specific to particular volumetric formats. The trial will aid the decision as to whether and where to deploy these devices more widely in delivery units in the future.

The expectation is that the equipment will be deployed for around 2-3 months in total, and will start to be deployed in the agreed list of units within the attached TOR in the next few weeks. Post deployment, the equipment may be removed from the pilot locations and relocated elsewhere in the business where it may contribute to greater benefit, or remain in the pilot hubs. This will be subject to review.

The department believes that the TOR contains all the necessary safeguards, whilst clearly defining that there is full involvement of the CWU and staff within the trial, and the necessary training and support along with appropriate SSOW. In addition, any operational changes required to facilitate the trial arrangements will be subject to the IR Framework.

The trial will be overseen by the national parties and will be formally reviewed by the signatories of the TOR, with local Managers and CWU feeding into this process.

Any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department, reference 540, email address: outdoorsecretary@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely,

Mick Kavanagh

CWU (Acting) Assistant Secretary

LTB 165.18 – Terms of Reference RM CWU Covering the Trial of Finger Scanners for Indoor Tasks and Higher Volume Delivery Offices

180312 TOR_Finger Scanners in High Volume DOs



Over the last few weeks, we have been in negotiations with Royal Mail on attendance issues linked to the Coronavirus Covid-19. On 9th March 2020 we wrote to Royal Mail wanting to discuss the challenges Coronavirus Covid-19 would bring and to ensure our members were looked after. Following a meeting on 13th March 2020, paid sick leave for members with less than 12 months service and discounting absences for Coronavirus within the attendance procedure were implemented on 16th March 2020. This was reported in LTB 127/20.

When LTB 127/20 was published, there was a maximum of 14 days self-isolating, Royal Mail’s policy was based on this with a review date of 31st March 2020. Within a few days of the LTB being published this changed, as over the weekend of 20th March 2020 the Government introduced the self-isolation for vulnerable people, which is 12 weeks self-isolation. Members in the most vulnerable groups have been sent letters to this effect, so they can supply the letter to their employer. Once this letter is provided, this will cover you for the period of 12 weeks.

Due to this announcement, we wrote to Royal Mail on 23rd March requesting the review be brought forward as we now potentially have members who are on half/no pay, or could potentially go onto half/no pay if they had to self-isolate for 12 weeks and there is no way this could be covered by annual leave. We have made the point most members would not be able to afford to be on half pay/unpaid for 12 weeks for an absence they would not normally have taken, and therefore they could be forced to take risks by coming into work as they cannot afford to stay off.

Royal Mail stated they were not going to bring forward the review from 31st March 2020, however would take on board our concerns.

Any member who has a letter from the NHS or a Doctor’s letter stating they are in the vulnerable category will be paid in line with the pay policy. This is 6 months full pay

and 6 months half pay over a rolling 4 year period. RMPFS will follow their own pay policy.

We believe as the Government are instructing members to take time off to go into social-isolation/social-distancing, exceptionally, any absence where members are forced into being absent should be paid full pay and not be penalised due to having had serious illnesses in the past e.g. Cancer.

Taking absence at this time, is not a choice a lot of people would have opted for. As this is a life saving measure which has been enforced on our vulnerable members, Royal Mail should pay full pay for anyone who has to follow Government advice due to being in the Vulnerable Persons category.

We will keep pressing Royal Mail on this and other issues which affect our members during this Coronavirus Crisis.

We have also brought up the issues and risks of the current policy highlighted in this LTB to the most senior national managers, therefore our opinion has been highlighted throughout the business.

When I write to Royal Mail, this also covers Parcelforce Members. We are also speaking with Management in RMPFS, who have to date followed Royal Mail’s lead.

Sick pay will be paid in line with each business unit’s sick pay policy.

I have attached a question and answer sheet to this LTB. There is a Facebook live session at 4pm today where I will be giving an update of discussions with the employers and it will also be an opportunity for members to have any questions they want answered on the Attendance Agreement.

All enquiries regarding the content of this LTB should be addressed to the PTCS Department, quoting reference 415. Email address: snicholas@cwu.org.

Yours Sincerely,

Carl Maden

Assistant Secretary (Acting).


Attachment – Covid-19 Q & A’s

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