Re: RMG – Introduction of ‘Mandatory’ Face Masks From Monday 9 November:

Communication Workers Union
Dave Joyce National Health & Safety Officer
150 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1RX
Tel: 020 8971 7365/7308 E-Mail: djoyce@cwu.org

Our Reference: E1/DJ/lmp

5 November 2020

To All ASRs

Dear Colleagues,

Re: RMG – Introduction of ‘Mandatory’ Face Masks From Monday 9 November:

This is just a quick update as Royal Mail have jumped the gun and have issued a
communication which you will all no doubt hear about today which follows a national
management briefing held by Shaun Davis Director SHE and Rachel Boon RMG Head
of Health yesterday.

Discussions on this subject have been taking place over the last two weeks and last
Friday Royal Mail Group informed the CWU of their intention, requesting CWU support
which was considered on Monday.

CWU/HQ is supporting the initiative having considered the current Covid-19 situation
across the UK and we agreed on joint communications. However a Royal Mail
communication was produced and issued at 6pm last night ahead of the agreed joint
comms for which a strong complaint has been made.

Never the less, from next Monday ‘Mandatory Masks’ are being introduced by RMG
for all indoor work.

The CWU is supporting this decision, subject to ongoing discussions, for a number of
very important reasons;

v The Virus infection rate continues to rise,
v The high daily number of new cases being recorded,
v Hospital admissions and death numbers increasing,
v A huge 125% increase in workplace outbreaks (TUC),
v 33,000 Christmas Casuals/Agency Workers about to join the RM/PFWW workforce,
v Local and Regional restrictions being imposed across large parts of the country,
v A second national lockdown starts this week,
v The risk of a flu pandemic alongside the Virus,
v The number of weekly coronavirus deaths is at its highest figure since early June,
a 46 per cent increase on the previous week,
v The number of patients admitted to hospital has jumped by more than 60 per cent
in 10 days,
v Hospitals Patients needing a ventilator has also increased by nearly 51 per cent,
v A third of UK workers are worried about catching coronavirus in their workplace.

I have stressed to RMG that the ‘Mandatory Masks’ measure is not an end in itself and
does not replace other preventative, risk control measures and must be seen as one of
the steps to safer working and a ‘Covid-19 Secure workplace’.

Mandatory Masks is one important component to a five-pronged, fully committed drive
that’s now needed with both RMG and CWU on board: –
Ø Improving Hygiene,
Ø Face Coverings,
Ø Social Distancing(2M),
Ø Improved Cleaning (premises and vehicles),
I also want to add
Ø ‘Workforce Testing’ (Weekly).

The Masks are not a substitute for Social Distancing(2M), Increased/Improved Cleaning,
Improved Hygiene standards.

I’m keen to get a workplace weekly testing regime implemented and have formally put
Forward a proposal to Royal Mail Group to consider the introduction of Workplace
Weekly Covid-19 testing which I think would improve safety, reduce transmissions
and infection rate plus give a huge reassurance to the workforce at this tough time as
the nation enters lockdown 2.

A number of associated issues have been raised by us for further discussion and those
talks will take place over the next couple of days. These items include;

v Masks per person not to be limited and to be changed frequently,
v Masks not compulsory whilst working outside,
v Visors to be provided,
v CWU ASRs and Managers and SHE Team to work together spot checking/
inspecting Social Distancing compliance and Covid-Secure compliance,
v Mask Wearing Compliance process to match the RMG/CWU PPE National
Agreement 3-step process,
v A robust ‘exceptions process’ – This includes (but is not limited to): staff with
underlying medical conditions, asthma, COPD etc, those with physical or
mental illness or impairment, or disability, those who by wearing a mask
would cause severe distress,
v Exemption cards to be produced,
v Exception for staff when seated to eat or drink in staff mess rooms, rest rooms,
restaurants or cafes. Putting the face covering back on once finished eating or
drinking,
v clear guidance on the type and suitability of particular face coverings,
v Facilities for Mask disposal
v Arrangements for those who rely on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions
to communicate

I will keep you all updated.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce | National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Member TUC Union Health and Safety Specialists Committee
Email djoyce@cwu.org | Direct line 020 8971 7365
Communication Workers Union, The communications union
Headquarters 150 The Broadway | Wimbledon | SW19 1RX
T 020 8971 7200 | F 02089717300 | http://www.cwu.org | @CWUNews

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