POST OFFICE: THE GREAT POST OFFICE TRIAL – RADIO 4 SHOW

POST OFFICE: THE GREAT POST OFFICE TRIAL – RADIO 4 SHOW

Branches are advised on Monday at 13.45, a ten part series called The Great Post Office Trial begins on Radio 4.

The series covers the extraordinary story of a decade-long battle with the Post Office, fought by hundreds of Postmasters. The trial is considered to be one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in UK legal history as Postmasters were wrongly blamed, dismissed and in some cases convicted for accounting shortfalls with some ending up in prison.

The series will go out at the same time for ten consecutive days (weekends excluded) with an omnibus edition going out on Radio 4 at 9pm on Friday 29th May and Friday 5th June. The ten shows are entitled as follows:

The Imaginary Heist

War of Attrition

The Bloodiest Mind in Wales

A Call for Help

I Love My Post Office

The Big Green Button

Navigating the Matrix

Extremely Aggressive Litigation

Follow the Money

What the Hell Had Happened.

Post Office executive who tried to mislead judge in Horizon case trial leaves by back door 

The above is the title of a Computer Weekly article published earlier this week which can be accessed via the link below.

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252483344/Post-Office-executive-who-tried-to-mislead-judge-in-Horizon-trial-leaves-via-back-door?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_great_post_office_trial_begins_on_monday&utm_term=2020-05-22

Computer Weekly has reported that Angela van den Bogerd, a senior Post Office Executive at the centre of this scandal, who was blamed by many of the Postmasters for

the Post Office failings has left the organisation without fanfare despite many years’ service. She was the most senior Post Office executive who gave evidence and was cross-examined in court during the litigation action.

In the Computer Weekly article, it was highlighted that when High Court judge Peter Fraser handed down his judgment in the court action, he was highly critical of van den Bogerd accusing her of seeking to “obfuscate matters and mislead me…”. 

Karl Flinders, the Computer Weekly journalist, goes on to say that whilst the Post Office state that “Angela van den Bogerd has left the Post Office to explore other opportunities”, it is thought “her position became untenable after her role in the Horizon scandal”.

Branches and Representatives are encouraged to listen to the Radio 4 shows and to draw these to the attention of our members.

Hopefully this radio coverage will help to bring about the public inquiry promised by the Prime Minister.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

20LTB270 Post Office – The Great Post Office Trial – Radio 4 Show

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

I would like to advise Branches that the inaugural newsletter from the Post Office Pension Plan (the Defined Contribution pension plan with Scottish Widows) Governance Committee will be received by our Post Office members in the coming days. The newsletter is attached for your information.

Although it is not required by law, the Pensions Regulator recommends that every pension plan has a Governance Committee in place. The Post Office Pension Plan Governance Committee has contracted Aon to facilitate as an independent advisor to organise and run the meetings. The Committee is made up of the following:

• Senior Post Office Management, including Lisa Cherry, HR Director, Lee Kelly, Employee Relations and Policy Director, and Maxine Cross, Head of Reward and Pensions

• Two Unite Reps

• One Representative from the Senior Managers group

• Andy Furey, National Officer, Mole Meade, PE Member and Lorna Pearson, Policy Advisor.

The Aon pensions expert is responsible for ensuring the meetings take place four times per year and that they are run smoothly and efficiently with an appropriate agenda. Additionally, the account manager from Scottish Widows has a slot at the meetings and in addition to running through the current performance of the scheme, he takes questions from the Committee and provides responses either at the meeting or as a follow up in writing.

After a slow start due mainly to the high churn of Post Office management on the group, the meetings of the Governance Committee are now a worthwhile and effective activity; hence the work to bring about our first Governance Committee newsletter which has been drawn up together with input from all parties.

The newsletter provides an introduction to the Governance Committee and our responsibilities, as well as an update on various matters relating to members’ pensions. This is the first of what we plan to be periodic updates sent to members via email.

A web article on the Governance Committee has been published on the CWU website and can be accessed via the following link:

Representatives are urged to bring this LTB and the attached newsletter to the attention of our Post Office members.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey 

Assistant Secretary

20LTB269 Post Office – Pension Plan Governance Committee – Newsletter

Attachment 1 to 20LTB269

CORONAVIRUS GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MEASURES 21 MAY 2020

CORONAVIRUS GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MEASURES 21 MAY 2020

Please see attached an update of the government assistance measures document to reflect the recent guidance on holiday entitlement and pay, for your information.

Any general queries should be addressed to gsoffice@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward

General Secretary

20TLB268 – Coronavirus Government Assistance Measures 21 May 2020

COVID – 19 Government Assistance Measures Work, Housing, Welfare and Childcare

CWU REDESIGN PROJECT – ASSET REVIEW

CWU REDESIGN PROJECT – ASSET REVIEW

LTB 210/20 dated 17th April 2020 provided branches with a report and update on the CWU Redesign Project and in particular the Asset Review.  In that LTB we reported that the CWSU NEC had unanimously endorsed a position to accept an offer in respect of Alvescot Lodge.  That offer was for the full asking price of £1.75 million and we reported that the buyer wanted to move extremely quickly to complete the purchase by the 15th May 2020.

The purpose of this LTB is to inform branches that the full sale of Alvescot Lodge was completed and contracts exchange as well as funds received by the CWU by close of business on Friday the 15th May.  Accordingly the sale of Alvescot Lodge has been completed.

Once again we would like to take the opportunity place on record our thanks to all our staff who have provided a great service at Alvescot Lodge over many years and for the dignified way they have conducted themselves during this very difficult time.  We continue to work with them on their own HR related issues.

This now completes the actions required around this particular part of the CWU Asset Review.  Further updates on the other aspects of the Asset Review will be published as and when developments occur.

Any enquiries on the contents of this LTB should be addressed to the SDGS Department at sdgs@cwu.org.

Dave Ward – General Secretary

Tony Kearns – Senior Deputy General Secretary

20LTB267

COMMUNICATIONS WORKSHOPS – TUESDAY 26th MAY – 4pm

COMMUNICATIONS WORKSHOPS – TUESDAY 26th MAY – 4pm

Colleagues,

Further to LTB 249/20 I am writing to confirm that on Tuesday 26th May at 4pm we will hold our first in series of Communications Workshops.

As advertised the first one is on hosting video calls and livestreaming. During this session we will run through the basics of going live – platforms, equipment, subject matter etc but for those who want to take things to the next level, we will hear from Gary McQuiggin who is the Head of Video at Novara Media.

Gary is one of the leading experts in using streaming platforms, producing innovative content and engaging audiences.

The session is open to any CWU reps who have an interest in this area of work and we would encourage as many branches as possible to join us.

The Webinar will be held on Zoom and you can join us via the link and password below. Please do not share these details on social media.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85920716837?pwd=MVRISG9nV3Nhcml3cG13QUJXZlgrQT09

Password: 515206
We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Kind regards,

Chris Webb
Head of Communications, Engagement and Media

LTB 266/20

HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

HSENI has confirmed that the total number of complaints received between 16 March 2020 and 4 May 2020 relating to individual companies was 481.

The total number of complaints received also include some multiple complaints against particular companies. However, each complaint is investigated on an individual basis. Inspectors will also take note of the number of complaints logged against a company and the common areas of concern raised.

Up to the start of May all COVID-19 complaints were dealt with remotely.  While HSENI was still conducting site visits, these were restricted to functions such as the investigation of fatalities.  COVID-19 complaints were dealt with through a variety of means, not solely telephone or email.  Some of these complaints required clarification of the public health guidance and others required changes in work practices to comply with the guidelines. HSENI report that the volume of complaints received by HSENI, although not just as high as they were, is still high and remains constant.

The roll-out of strategic COVID-19 visits began on Monday 4 May 2020. These visits are initially being targeted at premises where there have previously been repeated complaints, including within the food processing sector.  Part of the purpose of the visits it to determine that the early measures introduced by companies remain in compliance with public health guidelines.  These are unannounced visits.

Seven inspections were completed last week and this week, 29 inspections have been completed to date (13.5.20 at 1pm) and a further 7 visits have been planned before the end of the week. HSENI currently employs 110 people and qualified inspectors make up 37% of the staff. HSENI currently has 28 inspectors who are able to deploy in the field.

Others who are not able to deploy in the field continue to respond to complaints remotely. On 30 March 2020 HSENI reported that it had received a 900% increase in complaints and a very high volume of requests for information and advice. The majority of this unprecedented volume of calls were about ‘COVID-19’ and ‘social distancing’ in the workplace. Local councils had also received a large number of requests for assistance to protect workers’ health and safety.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

20LTB265 HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

JOINT STATEMENT – PARCELFORCE DEALING WITH BANK HOLIDAY DEMAND DURING COVID-19

JOINT STATEMENT – PARCELFORCE DEALING WITH BANK HOLIDAY DEMAND DURING COVID-19

Branches and representatives are informed that throughout the Covid-19 crisis the department have been involved in regular discussions with Parcelforce in relation to managing the unprecedented volumes in the network. At various points Parcelforce have proactively switched off service guarantees and removed product offerings to mitigate the increases in workload that have and continue to be experienced.

While there has been some success in managing volume, the migration from B2B to B2C has created a scenario where a comparative amount of volume has resulted in a vastly increased level of delivery stops, which has led to backlogs across the business.

Discussions are underway in relation to the longer term implications of this situation and how this can be managed. However, in the immediate term the business has indicated that in recognition of the efforts of our members they would like to offer the Christmas Pressure levels of remuneration for drivers who are willing to perform overtime over the next two weekends.

Attached for information is a Joint Statement, which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive, covering the terms of the additional payment, which would effectively apply a double time rate to all hours worked on overtime Saturday and Sunday 23rd & 24th and 30th & 31st May 2020.

We recognise that many members may value time away from the workplace at this time. Therefore, unlike at Christmas the department has insisted that there is no minimum commitment with regard to the number of days attended, although any attendance commitment would be for a minimum of 6 hours.

As such the agreement does not require any individual to make an advance commitment to attend for a multiple number of days or the whole of the weekends in question but does ensure that there are additional rewards for any of our members who do wish to attend over these weekends. Any extension of these arrangements beyond this period would be subject to further discussions and agreement.

The department hopes that the recognition and additional payment that is being offered will be welcomed by members and representatives are now encouraged to engage locally with management in relation for resourcing requirements for the weekends in question.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.org quoting reference 014.14

Yours sincerely,

Davie Robertson

Assistant Secretary

LTB 264/20

Final Joint Statment – Dealing with BH Demand COVID19 – 21.05.20

£200 COVID-19 Recognition Payment

£200 COVID-19 Recognition Payment

Further to LTB 254/20 and the attached Joint Statement circulated on 15th May 2020, Branches/colleagues should be aware that the DGS(P) department has received a number of enquiries relating to the qualifying criteria for this payment. I have formally raised these issues with the business and further dialogue is continuing.

Branches/colleagues must however remember that it was only following pressure from the union nationally that management decided to make a payment at all and therefore it is important to point out that the £200 payment is a one-off discretionary, non-contractual payment and not subject to the usual criteria in place for other lump sum payments – the most notable of which being the two Christmas lump sum payments.

The union will of course endeavour to ensure that as many members as possible receive all or part of this discretionary payment, but it must be remembered that the main focus of this payment is to acknowledge colleagues who have worked throughout the current COVID-19 crisis and continue to do so.

We should also not lose sight of the very real challenge the union and its members face due to the loss of letter traffic and the impact this has had on Royal Mail’s financial position. Equally it is of the utmost importance that we establish a framework for high level talks to resolve our current dispute and our 2020 pay claim.

The DGS(P) Department will ensure that Branches are provided with additional updates as further developments occur. In the meantime Branches are asked to circulate this LTB as widely as possible and to please stay safe.

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)      

LTB 263/20 – £200 COVID19 RECOGNITION PAYMENT

Organ Donation Law Change In England From Today 20 May 2020

Organ Donation Law Change In England From Today 20 May 2020

Further to LTB 269/2019 dated 1 May 2019, and CWU Conference policy to support the promotion of organ and blood donation, this is to inform Branches and Regions that the law around organ donation in England changes as of today 20 May 2020. This change is warmly welcomed by NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) who are certain that the change will lead to more lives being saved through organ donation.

As a result of the law change, all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have (a) recorded a decision not to donate or (b) have nominated someone to make a donation decision for them or (c) are in one of the excluded groups. Otherwise it will be considered that the individual has agreed to donate their organs. A new ‘opt out’ system for organ donation has been introduced as part of the change.

The excluded groups are:

  • people under 18
  • people who lack the capacity to understand the change
  • people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living in England voluntarily

In the new opt out system people still have a choice about whether or not to donate and can record their decision at any time – before or after the opt out system comes into effect.  Where donation is a possibility, families are always consulted to ensure NHSBT knows what the person who has died wanted to happen.

NHSBT have explained that the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on organ donation and transplantation in the UK.

The Government has advised that it is unlikely that donation will proceed under deemed consent during the current pandemic because people are distanced and communication between relevant parties is more challenging.

Therefore, while the NHS continues to deal with Coronavirus/COVID-19, where possible and supported by the local donor hospital, the NHS will continue to approach families about donation and will do so with their usual empathy and sensitivity. Where there isn’t a recorded or known decision, NHS will support families to make a decision on behalf of their loved one.

NHSBT are working closely with the wider NHS and already have plans in place to return vital organ donation and transplantation services to normal as soon as it is safe to do so.  Transplant centres are gearing up to re-open, or extend their service, in the next two weeks.

There are a number of myths and misconceptions around the opt out system and that’s why it is so important that NHSBT continue to educate and inform people about the law change, the choices available to them and the organ donation process.

Whilst NHSBT have had to reduce the intensity of their public information campaign over recent weeks due to COVID-19, they remain firmly committed to publicising the change in the law. They inform us that they are in the process of planning the next phase of the campaign, which will go live later this year.  In the meantime, there will be adverts on the radio and digital radio, and they will continue working with journalists to get stories in the media and posting informative content on their social channels. They have requested that supporting organisations including the CWU help in communicating the message to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the law change and understand the vitally important need for organ donation and the benefit from life-saving, life-transforming transplants. At the same time NHSBT seek to reassure people that it is still their choice whether or not to be an organ donor. People’s faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.

What is organ and tissue donation? 

Organ and tissue donation is giving your organs and/or tissues to help save or improve the lives of others when you die. One organ donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people. Tissue transplants can also significantly improve a person’s quality of life. This might be a cornea to help someone see again, a replacement heart valve to treat a heart defect, or skin to treat severe burns.

Why is the law around organ donation changing? 

Around three people die each day across the UK in need of an organ, because not enough organs are available for transplant. But only 1% of people die in circumstances that would allow them to donate. Most people support organ donation in principle and would be willing to donate their organs after their death. However, many people do not make this decision clear either by signing on to the NHS Organ Donor Register or telling their family. The change in law better reflects what most people want to happen and will help save and improve more lives.

Further information 

You can obtain further information on the NHSBT Website at:  www.nhsbt.nhs.uk

NHSBT Animation Video link

https://nhsbtdbe.blob.core.windows.net/umbraco-assets-corp/15840/opt-out-animation-2019.mp4

Information Telephone Line.

Any member wishing to speak to somebody about their choices can call a dedicated line: 0300 303 2094

Factsheet

The NHSBT factsheet explains how the law around organ donation in England is changing, what you need to do, and the choices you can make. A copy is attached.

Other Parts of the UK

Wales: Similar legislation was introduced in December 2015.

Scotland: Similar Legislation will come into force in March 2021.

Northern Ireland: The current legislation for Northern Ireland is an ‘opt in’ to organ and tissue donation system, unlike the rest of the UK which has now changed. The Northern Ireland Assembly decided in 2016 not to proceed with any changes to the basis of consent for organ donation.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 262/20 – Organ Donation Law Change In England From Today 20 May 2020

Attachment – organ-donation-law-in-england-factsheet-updated-May 2020

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