OFCOM’S REVIEW OF POSTAL USERS’ NEEDS AND THE USO

OFCOM’S REVIEW OF POSTAL USERS’ NEEDS AND THE USO

The purpose of this LTB is to update branches on a document and statement that was put out this morning by Ofcom, on its research assessing whether the USO meets the reasonable needs of users. Under the Postal Services Act any changes to the USO can only be made by the government following a vote in both Houses of Parliament and Ofcom’s research is designed to inform decisions on this.

Ofcom does not make any specific recommendations to the government on changing the USO, but its statement highlights two key findings: firstly, that changing the USO from 6 to 5 days for letters would continue to meet the needs of 97% of postal users; and secondly, that such a change to the USO would “potentially allow Royal Mail to make net cost savings of around £125m-£225m per year.” Clearly both statements it has highlighted will be used to make the case for a cut to the universal service, something we know certain shareholders in Royal Mail will be pushing for.

The union issued statements responding to Ofcom’s announcement which are attached to this LTB. In these we set out the union’s opposition to a cut to a 6 day postal service and highlighted that Ofcom’s own research shows significant public support for this. We also highlighted how the postal service has been clearly shown to be essential during the pandemic; how the regulator and government should be looking to expand the USO with more parcels and other new services, in order to ensure it is sustainable; and called on the government to support rather than scale back an essential part of the UK’s infrastructure.

While letter volumes have declined, in the statements we make clear that the union believes the role of the regulator and the government is to protect and enhance the universal service and reiterate our support for investment in new USO services and parcel automation to deliver greater efficiency. Ofcom’s statement reflects out of date thinking that inevitably leads towards managed decline.

As branches will recall, in the Joint Statement between Royal Mail and the CWU in July, we agreed to develop “a joint strategy to maintain the USO as part of the social fabric of the UK, including exploring the potential for new USO products to support its long-term economic sustainability” and we are continuing to work on this as part of the current talks.

Alongside this, the union will be lobbying the Government and politicians to make clear that it must not move away from a 6 day postal service and mounting a public campaign to defend jobs and a vital public service for the whole of the country.

A copy of Ofcom’s statement and a briefing note on Ofcom’s report are attached to this LTB. 

Enquiries on the contents of this LTB regarding the Government and Regulators position, should be addressed to the General Secretary’s office jdunn@cwu.org, enquiries relating to the impact on Royal Mail and CWU members should be addressed to the DGS (P) Department hford@cwu.org.

Further updates on this work will be sent out to branches shortly.

Yours sincerely,                                        

Dave Ward                                                            Terry Pullinger

General Secretary  Deputy General Secretary (P)

LTB 568/20 – OFCOM’S REVIEW OF POSTAL USERS’ NEEDS AND THE USO
Attachment – Briefing on Ofcom User Needs Survey 26 Nov 2020

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POST OFFICE: SUPPLY CHAIN JOINT STATEMENT – STAB VESTS

POST OFFICE: SUPPLY CHAIN JOINT STATEMENT – STAB VESTS

Further to LTB 001/20 dated 2nd January, Branches are reminded that earlier this year we worked with the Post Office on a joint review with regards to the potential introduction of stab vests for CViT Crew members performing duties on high risk routes. Following a trial in 3 Depots and an enhanced risk assessment of CViT routes, it has now been agreed that in the interest of our members’ protection, the stab vests will be rolled out initially to seven depots covering 35 high risk routes as a trial extension.

The following joint statement has been published today:

Stab vest roll out

Following a joint review we recognise that a number of factors may impact on the CViT risk profile in the near future particularly in some parts of the country.

We have to ensure that the Health, Safety and Wellbeing of colleagues is our number one priority, therefore we have agreed to roll out the provision of stab vests to 35 of our CViT drivers who perform routes in areas deemed high risk. These risks include:

• an increase in knife and violent crime in a number of areas and major cities.
• an increase in cash being collected from branches due to the closure of local high street banks.

A range of four vests from different suppliers were trialled at 3 depots in early 2020 by male and female crew and a preferred version was selected by CViT crews. The feedback informed us that comfort, fitting and robustness was important.

Post Office took onboard the feedback from drivers and the chosen vest was generally considered lightweight, flexible panels, comfortable when worn, not too hot, easy to remove and good quality.

Post Office Security team have undertaken an enhanced risk assessment of CIT routes and due to an increase in the risk factors above, Post Office are proposing to roll out the vests to seven depots covering 35 high risk routes. The depots that have been identified to receive vests are:

• Belfast
• Birmingham
• Chester
• Hemel
• London
• Manchester
• Sheffield

The Health and Safety team will shortly be contacting the depots serving the 35 high risk routes to obtain colleague measurements.

At this stage we do not believe there is a requirement to provide crews with stab vests on all routes, but we will continue to review quarterly including reviewing the requirements across all Depots to ascertain whether stab vests should be extended beyond the 35 routes. We will of course share information and data with you especially if the threat levels change moving forward.

Post Office and CWU will continue to work together; to ensure safety is our number one priority. This will include the depot manager and the CWU Unit Rep in the seven depots involved working together to ensure the smooth implementation of this agreement.

Nick Trowler                                               Andy Furey
Head of CViT Operations                         CWU Assistant Secretary
Post Office

As Branches will note from the Joint Statement, we will continue to jointly review the situation on a quarterly basis and where necessary agree any further requirements. Branches and Representatives are urged to bring this LTB to the attention of our Supply Chain CViT members.

Further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

LTB 567/20 -Post Office – Supply Chain Joint Statement – Stab Vests

CWU SUPPORT FOR JEREMY CORBYN MP AND OUR WIDER CONCERNS ON DIVISIONS WITHIN THE LABOUR PARTY

CWU SUPPORT FOR JEREMY CORBYN MP AND OUR WIDER CONCERNS ON DIVISIONS WITHIN THE LABOUR PARTY

Branches will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn MP was suspended as a member of the Labour Party on the 30th October. Since that date, we have received hundreds of enquiries regarding this news. Once the news of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension became public, as General Secretary, I made statements demanding that he be readmitted to the Party following serious concerns regarding the process leading to his suspension and the political nature of it. I also made statements making clear my support for the EHRC report.

Branches will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted to the Labour Party on the 17th November. It is our understanding that the panel convened to hear Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension case found him to be not guilty of any breaches in a unanimous decision. Despite political briefings surrounding this hearing, the panel included representatives from all sides of Labour’s left/right political spectrum.

Many hoped that this finding would lead to the Labour Party turning its focus to the important issues of the day including the economic outlook and the coronavirus crisis. This was also an important moment to begin implementing the EHRC recommendations on anti-semitism and doubling down on efforts to ensure that Labour becomes a truly anti-racist Party.

Instead, the Labour Leader Keir Starmer took the decision to suspend the Labour whip – a parliamentary term for admittance to the Parliamentary Party – from Jeremy Corbyn in a decision that flies in the face of the Party’s rules and customs. This decision also goes against all forms of natural justice given that Jeremy Corbyn had been found not guilty of the charges made against him by the Party’s formal processes.

Following these events, an emergency motion was presented to the CWU NEC. The motion read:

“The NEC endorses the Terms of the Joint Statement agreed by seven TULO unions, including the CWU, with regard to the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party and the call for him to be reinstated.  The statement is attached.

The NEC will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn has subsequently been reinstated as a Labour member but that following this the leader of the Labour Party announced yesterday that he would not be restoring the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn.  The NEC believe this is wrong and will support the call for the Whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn.

The General Secretary will bring forward a paper to the next NEC meeting to enable a discussion on this ongoing internal dispute within the Labour Party and the implications of it impacts on our political work.”

The motion was passed unanimously by the CWU National Executive

The CWU continues to support Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a long-term supporter of this Union’s industrial and political work. However, beyond Jeremy Corbyn as an individual, we also believe there is a very serious issue developing regarding freedom of expression and natural justice and the views of the Union on this have equally been expressed directly to the Labour Leader.  Additionally, we have also expressed our concerns over whether the current direction of Labour is truly representing the policies that Labour has previously agreed in supporting CWU members.

We are also aware that in relation to this issue a number of Labour Party CLPs, CLP Officers including a number of CWU members have been suspended from the Party as a result of them expressing their support for Jeremy Corbyn in the manner the union has at national level. We are led to believe that these actions have been instigated by the General Secretary of the Labour Party whom we understand is responsible for a directive informing Branches and CLP’s that these matters cannot be discussed. Our view is that this only serves to deepen divides within the Party along factional grounds. Given the serious political issues that our members face industrially and in their day to day lives both the approach and its consequences are unacceptable.

We would be grateful if branches could inform of us of any CWU members who they are aware have been suspended by the Labour Party over this issue and the reason given for such suspensions.

We also wish to make clear that in our exchanges with the Labour Leader on this matter, we have focused on the need for these issues to be resolved and for an end from all sides to the factional fighting that is making Labour look unelectable.

Finally, you will see from the motion, that we are due to bring forward a further paper to the National Executive, which will consider the implications of this internal Labour dispute on our ongoing political work.  Further developments will be reported in due course.

Any enquiries on the above should be sent to the General Secretary’s Office at jdunn@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward

General Secretary

LTB 566/20 – CWU support for Jeremy Corbyn MP

WARNING – DVLA – Dangerous Spoof ‘Phishing’ E-Mail & Attachment:

WARNING – DVLA – Dangerous Spoof ‘Phishing’ E-Mail & Attachment:

The majority of CWU members drive as part of their employment and an even bigger number drive privately. This message is therefore important to everyone.

The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have warned the UK public about a widespread spoof, ‘phishing’ e-mail which is currently being circulated to homes across the nation by cyber-criminal scammers who are trying to trick drivers into completing a fake form and handing over personal information and access to bank accounts.

‘Phishing’ is now sadly a common fraudulent, criminal practice of sending out emails purporting to be from government agencies, police, banks, insurers or reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Cyber criminals will contact people via e-mail, out of the blue and attempt to convince them to hand over their personal information or money or to open an attachment and download a virus that infects the victim’s computer.

Apart from email, scammers also use texts, social media or phone calls.

Usually, the hacker will send out counterfeit messages to multiple individuals, requesting they take urgent action on something. In previous years, these messages were easy to detect and were often ignored and deleted. Nowadays, cyber criminals seem to be doing extensive research and get to know their target, their weaknesses and online habits so that their ‘urgent email’ is fitting for the receiver.

‘Phishing’ attempts have grown 65% in the last year in the UK and 30% of the people receiving ‘phishing’ messages actually open them and click on the malicious attachments or links.

The ‘spoof’ DVLA e-mail threatens drivers that if they fail to complete the form attached to the e-mail their licence will be terminated.

The Spoof ‘phishing’ email is described as follows:

From: Driver And Services Performance:[669757advlxq384269]@voobe

Subject: #-Driver-Gov.UK | Application form confirmation| item No.UK20518867

A COPY OF THE SPOOF ‘PHISHING’ E-MAIL IS ATTACHED FOR YOUR INFORMATION – PLEASE ENSURE DRIVING MEMBERS ARE WARNED.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 565/20 – WARNING – DVLA – Dangerous Spoof ‘Phishing’ E-Mail & Attachment

Attachment 1

CWU SUPPORT FOR JEREMY CORBYN MP AND OUR WIDER CONCERNS ON DIVISIONS WITHIN THE LABOUR PARTY

CWU SUPPORT FOR JEREMY CORBYN MP AND OUR WIDER CONCERNS ON DIVISIONS WITHIN THE LABOUR PARTY

Branches will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn MP was suspended as a member of the Labour Party on the 30thOctober. Since that date, we have received hundreds of enquiries regarding this news. Once the news of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension became public, as General Secretary, I made statements demanding that he be readmitted to the Party following serious concerns regarding the process leading to his suspension and the political nature of it. I also made statements making clear my support for the EHRC report.

Branches will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted to the Labour Party on the 17th November. It is our understanding that the panel convened to hear Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension case found him to be not guilty of any breaches in a unanimous decision. Despite political briefings surrounding this hearing, the panel included representatives from all sides of Labour’s left/right political spectrum.

Many hoped that this finding would lead to the Labour Party turning its focus to the important issues of the day including the economic outlook and the coronavirus crisis. This was also an important moment to begin implementing the EHRC recommendations on anti-semitism and doubling down on efforts to ensure that Labour becomes a truly anti-racist Party.

Instead, the Labour Leader Keir Starmer took the decision to suspend the Labour whip – a parliamentary term for admittance to the Parliamentary Party – from Jeremy Corbyn in a decision that flies in the face of the Party’s rules and customs. This decision also goes against all forms of natural justice given that Jeremy Corbyn had been found not guilty of the charges made against him by the Party’s formal processes.

Following these events, an emergency motion was presented to the CWU NEC. The motion read:

“The NEC endorses the Terms of the Joint Statement agreed by seven TULO unions, including the CWU, with regard to the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party and the call for him to be reinstated.  The statement is attached.

The NEC will be aware that Jeremy Corbyn has subsequently been reinstated as a Labour member but that following this the leader of the Labour Party announced yesterday that he would not be restoring the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn.  The NEC believe this is wrong and will support the call for the Whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn.

The General Secretary will bring forward a paper to the next NEC meeting to enable a discussion on this ongoing internal dispute within the Labour Party and the implications of it impacts on our political work.”

The motion was passed unanimously by the CWU National Executive

The CWU continues to support Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a long-term supporter of this Union’s industrial and political work. However, beyond Jeremy Corbyn as an individual, we also believe there is a very serious issue developing regarding freedom of expression and natural justice and the views of the Union on this have equally been expressed directly to the Labour Leader.  Additionally, we have also expressed our concerns over whether the current direction of Labour is truly representing the policies that Labour has previously agreed in supporting CWU members.

We are also aware that in relation to this issue a number of Labour Party CLPs, CLP Officers including a number of CWU members have been suspended from the Party as a result of them expressing their support for Jeremy Corbyn in the manner the union has at national level. We are led to believe that these actions have been instigated by the General Secretary of the Labour Party whom we understand is responsible for a directive informing Branches and CLP’s that these matters cannot be discussed. Our view is that this only serves to deepen divides within the Party along factional grounds. Given the serious political issues that our members face industrially and in their day to day lives both the approach and its consequences are unacceptable.

We would be grateful if branches could inform of us of any CWU members who they are aware have been suspended by the Labour Party over this issue and the reason given for such suspensions.

We also wish to make clear that in our exchanges with the Labour Leader on this matter, we have focused on the need for these issues to be resolved and for an end from all sides to the factional fighting that is making Labour look unelectable.

Finally, you will see from the motion, that we are due to bring forward a further paper to the National Executive, which will consider the implications of this internal Labour dispute on our ongoing political work.  Further developments will be reported in due course.

Any enquiries on the above should be sent to the General Secretary’s Office at jdunn@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward

General Secretary

LTB 566/20 – CWU support for Jeremy Corbyn MP

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CWU RESPONSE TO OFCOM STATEMENT ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION

CWU RESPONSE TO OFCOM STATEMENT ON UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION

Responding to today’s press release from OFCOM CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said ‘At a time when postal services have never been more essential and we should be investing in our national infrastructure, we should be looking for ways to protect and enhance a six day universal postal service, not for reasons to cut it back.”

“While letter volumes have continued to decline, there is huge demand for affordable high quality parcel services that cover every part of the country and during the pandemic Royal Mail has handled over 90% of all Covid-19 testing kits. A 6 day universal service remains essential to the UK and we should be looking at building new products and services into it to support its long-term sustainability rather than managing its decline.”

“It is ironic that this news from the regulator has come the day before Black Friday, one of the busiest posting days of the year, when no other person in the country is thinking about how to cut their postal services. It is essential that the government and MPs protect the country’s infrastructure and do not move to scrap the universal service at the worst possible time.”

“Ofcom’s research shows that 40% of people would feel cut-off from society without a daily postal service and that 61% of people think it’s important to maintain a 6-day service. The role of the regulator and the government should be to ensure this continues and the CWU will be fighting to defend a vital public service.”

CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said “Once again Ofcom has produced a predictable conventional wisdom, but dated report, many countries have knee jerked towards reducing their USO and weakened the social inclusion and connectivity of their nations citizens. If this report was up to date it would reflect how the current pandemic has totally proven the worth of the 6-day USO which does not only deliver letters.”

“Ofcom make reference to the current USO being letters six days and parcel five days, and yet despite making a huge case for the need to be more efficient in delivering parcels, does not recommend moving USO parcels to six days. A move which would totally benefit the nation offering affordable guaranteed one price goes everywhere universal service six days a week, and if you are going there with parcels why would you not still deliver any available letters, surely that is efficient. The CWU would support that change, the CWU supports greater investment in parcel automation which would drive the efficiency they desire, the CWU support opening the delivery of commercial parcel offerings across the whole day from 7.00am to 19.00hrs and also seven days a week.’

“The Universal Postal Service Obligation is one of our greatest social inventions and has massively proved its worth again during this pandemic some 500 hundred years or more since it was first introduced. Whilst Ofcom enjoy loading the gun it would be unforgiveable for the Government to fire it, run that consultation again Ofcom and see the results you get from the public and businesses now having witnessed its true worth during 2020.”

Royal Mail Group – Free Flu Voucher Scheme – Lloyds Pharmacy Receives Additional Stocks of Flu Vaccine:

Royal Mail Group – Free Flu Voucher Scheme – Lloyds Pharmacy Receives Additional Stocks of Flu Vaccine:

Royal Mail Group have informed CWU/HQ that from this week, Lloyds Pharmacy is expecting the delivery of new stocks of the flu vaccine. Members who have previously expressed an interest in receiving a ‘free flu jab’ via the Lloyds Pharmacy booking portal will receive an email informing them to contact their local Lloyds branch to book an appointment. For those members that did not express an interest but would now like a flu jab, they should now contact their local Lloyds branch to book an appointment.

RMG have acknowledged the frustrations some members have experienced trying to secure a flu vaccination but news of the arrival of new bulk stock levels will now enable more people to receive a flu vaccination.

So far over 6,500 Royal Mail and Parcelforce employees have redeemed their ‘free flu vaccine’ since it was launched on 1 October. Lloyds, in line with other suppliers and the NHS, has seen a large increase in demand for vaccines this year, which exhausted initial stocks.

To book a flu jab, members should contact any local branch of Lloyds Pharmacy or visit them in-store. If they have stock, they will book an appointment for individuals.

Any members with questions regarding whether they qualify for a free ‘NHS flu vaccination’, should contact their GP surgery.

Where employees live more than 15 miles away from their nearest Lloyds Pharmacy, they can use an alternative flu jab provider, pay for their flu jab and submit a reimbursement claim via a T&S.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 564/20 – Royal Mail Group – Free Flu Voucher Scheme – Lloyds Pharmacy Receives Additional Stocks of Flu Vaccine

RM/CWU Joint Statement – Covid-19 Tender Proposal to Deliver T24 Test Kits

RM/CWU Joint Statement – Covid-19 Tender Proposal to Deliver T24 Test Kits

Branches and representatives are informed that we have now received confirmation from Royal Mail that they have been successful in their bid for the Government contract to deliver Covid-19 test kits across 7 days of the week.

Discussions have been taking place with the business to finalise a Joint Statement in relation to the activity and a document has been concluded and endorsed by the Postal Executive, a copy of which is attached for your information.

The Joint Statement provides information that will enable activity to commence in preparation for the operational start of the contract, which at present is anticipated to be the 2nd December 2020, with the first Sunday delivery of test kits taking place on the 6th December 2020.

Discussions are currently continuing in relation to operational details and additional materials to support the activity and further information will be shared in the coming days. However, in advance of this being circulated we would ask that engagement takes place with the appropriate and relevant Royal Mail managerial interfaces in line with the attached Joint Statement.

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

Processing/Distribution: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.orgquoting reference: 014.14.
Deliveries/Collections: Mark Baulch, Assistant Secretary, email: outdoorsecretary@cwu.orgquoting reference: 600.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch
Assistant Secretary
Katrina Quirke
Acting Assistant Secretary

LTB 563/20 – Delivery of CV19 Test Kits – 25.11.20

JS – Covid 19 Tender Proposal to Deliver T24 Test Kits

TUC – Face Coverings in the Workplace Guide:

TUC – Face Coverings in the Workplace Guide:

This new updated TUC guide explains why face coverings are used, the difference between face coverings and masks, what the recommended standards are and what union reps can do to support members.

The guide covers the different types of face coverings, reusable, single-use, styles and materials.

The guide points out the purpose and value of face coverings/masks designed to protect those around us, and protect the wearer.

Face coverings are a legal requirement to wear while travelling on public transport and in most indoor public spaces.

The guide covers the mandatory face covering requirements for some workers, exemptions and regulatory differences in Scotland, where face coverings are also mandatory in specific other work settings.

Police enforcement is included in the guide.

Importantly the guide stresses the important fact that face coverings help reduce the spread of coronavirus, but are not a replacement for other measures such as 2-metre social distancing, regular hand-washing, effective ventilation systems, cleaning and self-isolation when necessary which are still considered as more effective control measures.

Face coverings and face masks differences are explained in the guide as are the different filtering levels and standards.

Many people are choosing to wear a face covering at work, whether or not one is required.

In August 2020, the government U-turned to allow for schools to require staff to wear a face covering if they felt it necessary. More and more employers are now requiring workers to use face coverings at work.

The guide states that if an employer requires workers to wear face coverings at work, these should be provided to the workforce free of charge and workers should be given an adequate supply.

With regard to standards, the guide points out the government’s advice that face coverings should “ideally include at least two layers of fabric”. The World Health Organisation Standards recommends a face covering has three layers and explains the materials and fabrics used.

There is advice for union reps on the minimum specification face covering that employers should provide.

The guide covers situations where workers are required to use face coverings for long periods and that working hours should reflect the discomfort and fatigue issues associated with this and that employers should build in breaks to allow workers the option of time away from the workplace without a face covering.

Disposing of face coverings is referred to in the guide.

Exemptions are referred to in the guide covering people who are exempt from the wearing of face coverings, including workers who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability and people speaking to or assisting someone who relies on lip-reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.

Government advice states that nobody should be made to obtain a medical note as evidence for their exemption. Employers should approach this based on trust, and not force anyone with an exemption to wear a face covering.

It concludes that union reps will wish to seek assurances from management that no member is penalised or otherwise discriminated against based on exemption.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 562/20 – TUC – Face Coverings in the Workplace Guide

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