Royal Mail Withdrawal of Shared Vans – Following Covid-19 Tier 4/Lockdown Announcements in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:
Branches and Reps will be aware that over the weekend a series of announcements were made in relation the introduction of new tougher Tier-4 Coronavirus/Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across the UK. Tier-4 is the toughest of the county’s five tiers of restrictions (0-4). For those affected, Tier-4 will essentially be a return to the full lockdown.
The UK Government for England and devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been prompted to take urgent action following rapidly increasing Covid-19 infection rates and concerns over a new strain of Coronavirus which is believed to spread more quickly, is significantly more infectious and is up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant, so affecting more people. This is judged to be the reason for the rapidly rising infection rates in the South East and elsewhere. COVID-19 cases have been nearly doubling in London over the past few weeks, while in the East and South East of England cases have continued to rise significantly.
The Government has urged people to continue to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as over the coming weeks and months, the number of vaccination clinics and centres will be set up and could see two million people a week being vaccinated.
Royal Mail Shared Van Policy Change
As a result of the weekend’s announcements from the UK Governments regarding the introduction of the ‘Tier-4 Lockdown’ arrangements to tackle the rapidly rising Covid-19 infection numbers and faster transmission rate of the newly detected Covid-19 Virus strain, the Royal Mail Executive Board have decided, as an ‘emergency measure’ to withdraw their current shared van arrangements which they state is on the basis of putting the safety of the workforce and communities Royal Mail operates in first. The Union certainly welcomes that prompt reaction to the Government announcements as the Union’s position has remained that shared vans should not have been reintroduced in the first place (See LTB No. 489/20 dated 6 October 2020).
Royal Mail state that that this is a ‘temporary cessation’ of the use of shared vans in Tier-4/Lockdown areas which will be kept under review.
This means shared vans should stop in the England listed Tier 4/Lockdown areas and all of Wales, with immediate effect. Shared vans should cease in mainland Scotland and Northern Ireland from 26 December.
Royal Mail add that they will be keeping this decision under close review as more information from Government and public health bodies becomes available.
Dr Shaun Davis Royal Mail Group Global Director Compliance & Sustainability concludes the communication on behalf of the Executive Board – Royal Mail emphasise in the meantime, please ensure that all safety measures are being followed in your units, and you and your teams continue to follow Government guidelines.
A copy of the communication is attached.
The following areas of England entered Tier-4/Lockdown from 20 December:
- Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
- Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
- Rother and Hastings
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
The whole of Wales has entered Lockdown from 20 December.
The whole of mainland Scotland will enter Tier-4/Lockdown from Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December.
The whole of Northern Ireland will enter Lockdown from Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December.
A separate LTB covering a summary of the changes being introduced in relation to the Tier-4 Lockdown Rules as they apply across the UK and where to obtain further information is being circulated in a separate LTB.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer