POST OFFICE: POST OFFICE PENSION PLAN (DEFINED CONTRIBUTIONSCHEME) – FURTHER ONLINE PENSIONS SEMINARS FOR FEBRUARY

POST OFFICE: POST OFFICE PENSION PLAN (DEFINED CONTRIBUTION
SCHEME) – FURTHER ONLINE PENSIONS SEMINARS FOR FEBRUARY

Further to LTB 397/20 dated 28th July 2020. Branches are advised that we have
continued our joint activities in conjunction with the Post Office and Unite in relation to
the Post Office Pension Plan (DC scheme).

These ongoing activities, which include working directly with the provider Scottish
Widows to arrange and deliver online pensions seminars for our members, are discussed
as part of our regular Governance Group meetings which I attend along with Mole
Meade, Postal Executive member and Lorna Pearson, Policy Advisor.

The latest seminars, which will take place during February, are on the subject of:

• Investment Choices – Wednesday 3rd (3pm) Tuesday 16th (9am)
• Pre-retirement Options – Thursday 4th (2pm) Wednesday 17th (10.30am)

Scheme members who are unable to attend the live seminars will be able to play back
the recorded session at their convenience.

A Joint Statement which also reminds members to keep their Expression of Wish and
Beneficiary forms up to date has been published today and is attached for information.
Branches and Representatives are asked to bring this matter to the attention of our
Post Office members.

Further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

LTB 033/21 – Post Office – Post Office Pension Plan (DC Schme) – Further Online Pensions Seminars for February

Attachment 1 to LTB 033/21 – Joint Statement

Attachment 2 to LTB 033/21 – Nomination Of Beneficiary Form

Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) Newsletter No. 30 – January-February 2021

Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) Newsletter No. 30 – January-February 2021

The Greener Jobs Alliance was launched to promote skills training and job creation to meet the needs of Britain’s rapidly growing low carbon sectors and to green the whole economy.  The transition to a low carbon and resource efficient economy can drive sustainable economic recovery and job creation in every part of the country as well as making existing jobs more secure. But this requires a more strategic national and local approach to deliver the workforce skills needed and to stimulate demand for clean energy and energy efficiency services.

The Greener Jobs Alliance liaises at a national and local level to build the broadest possible support for the policies, investment, partnerships and commitments needed to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Greener Jobs Alliance liaises with training bodies, colleges, universities, employers, local and national government, trade unions, housing associations, campaign and community groups – to build the policies, investment and partnerships needed to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.

The GJA runs a number of ‘free’ courses on the environment for Trade Union Reps in different parts of the UK which have been attended by a number of CWU Reps.

The GJA came into existence as a result of funding from Battersea and Wandsworth TUC.

The GJA Newsletter editor is Graham Petersen, also the GJA Secretary. Graham is well known to the CWU and has a long standing working relationship with the Union. He is a former TUC Tutor and Course Designer who created Safety Reps training courses and the successful TUC Occupational Health & Safety Diploma Course. He was the head of the Trade Union Studies Centre at South Thames College before retirement from the post.

The GJA AGM will take place on Monday 2 February: Celebrating 10 years of the Greener Jobs Alliance

All CWU Reps are invited to register and join the event and the guest speaker is Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC. The GJA celebrates a decade of work pushing the green jobs and skills agenda after being set up in 2010. The GJA has supported unions and environmental organisations with their newsletters, courses, and advocacy throughout this period. The AGM is an open meeting but requires registration to receive the ‘Zoom Link’ and documentation.

Greener Jobs Alliance AGM

Tuesday 2 February from 1.30 – 3.00pm

Register here: https://www.greenerjobsalliance.co.uk

There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss the ‘Path to a zero-carbon economy’ and help GJA set their priorities for 2021.

Newsletter 30 – The GJA’s January/February newsletter has been published following the flurry of Government activity around the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ announcements. In November last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson broadcast to the nation his ‘10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ but what’s missing pointed out the GJA is a strategic plan to reach net zero by 2050 and the public investment in jobs and skills to match. The UK, which is hosting important UN climate negotiations (COP 26) in 2021, is under national and international pressure to deliver an ambitious climate strategy that shows leadership, setting the bar high as countries around the world come to the table to pledge greater climate ambition. It’s not only unions that have been critical of the plan. E3G a European think tank has also commented on the weaknesses https://www.e3g.org/news/green-without-the-recovery/.

This Tory government has been keen to adopt terms like ‘green industrial revolution’ and ‘build back better’ as part of its posturing on the recovery from the pandemic. On the 18th January, Prime Minister Johnson unveiled the ‘Build Back Better Council’ made up of bankers, oil giants and aviation firms. Unions, social justice campaigners and environmentalists have challenged the exclusion of worker representatives and climate experts from the new 30-member body, intended to ‘unlock investment’ and ‘level up the UK’. The TUC has proposed a joint National Recovery Council, which the Government ignored. “We have significant expertise in industry and business and I know many employers who agree that it is not just foolish to exclude unions from these bodies – many see it as the Government adopting an anti-union position. It’s indicative of how they see unions, like the cuts to the Union Learning Fund.” The Government’s ‘Build Back Better Council’ fronted up Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, at the launch, who said, “I am a big believer in British business and the Prime Minister’s push to create a cleaner, greener, more inclusive economy.” The irony is that BP is ranked as one of the world-beating polluters.

Labour launched its own plan for a Green Economic Recovery, calling for £30bn of spending over the next 18 months to create 400,000 new green jobs. This plan seems more focused on the here and now, the need to take swift action to deal with the economic fall-out from the pandemic and to kick start the work on the climate crisis. Even so, whether Labour is putting out short term plans or a full length strategy, the GJA believe it is essential for the Labour Party to keep focused on the radical building blocks needed to tackle the climate crisis.

What’s needed is a coherent strategy on green jobs and skills.

A copy of the GJA Newsletter No. 30 is attached.

Contents of GJA Newsletter No 30:

  1. Editorial: ‘Government falls at the first hurdle of Build Back Better’.
  2. GJA AGM Monday 2 February: 10 years of the Greener Jobs Alliance.
  3. ‘Develop sectoral, local and regional green jobs strategies’ GJA tells Parliamentary jobs inquiry.
  4. TUC’s ambitions for the Green Jobs Taskforce.
  5. Green Jobs Now.
  6. Just Transition reports from across the globe.
  7. All roads lead to Glasgow.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 032/21 – Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) Newsletter No. 30 – January-February 2021

GJA-Newsletter-JanFeb-2021-No30

New Course Application Process

New Course Application Process

The Equality, Education and Development Department are today launching a new “Course Application” process.

Having tested the system, we believe that Branches will benefit from its “user friendly” application and a more streamlined approach.

Aims of the changes include the system becoming as paperless as possible, replacing the old application form and utilising the Online Services System (OLS).

A specific section of OLS which only Branch Secretaries (or others they nominate) can access has been designed. This maintains Branch Secretary Authority as the only person able to apply for a course on a representative’s behalf.

To make the most of the system we ask that Branch Secretaries as a matter of urgency:

a. Make sure their Officer/Representatives data is up to date

b. All Officer/Representatives email addresses held on the OLS are accurate. (The system will rely on these as the point of contact for applicants).

I would like to place on record our thanks to Matt Edwards (Membership System Administrator) for his help in developing this system.

To further assist attached below is a short video for Branch Secretaries that gives an overview on how the new system works.

Any enquiries on the new course application process should be sent to equality&education@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Kate Hudson
Head of Equality, Education & Development

LTB 031/21 – New Course Application Process

Video Attachment


POST OFFICE: COVID – REVISED OPENING HOURS FOR CROWNS

POST OFFICE: COVID – REVISED OPENING HOURS FOR CROWNS

Branches will recall that at the outset of the Coronavirus pandemic last spring,
we agreed with the Post Office to revise Crown Office opening hours in order to
limit the time our Key Worker members were in direct contact with the public,
whilst ensuring the continuation of the essential service to communities.

The Crowns reverted back to normal opening hours during the low point in the
wave of infections. However, as you would expect, we have been in
discussions with the Post Office since the New Year due to the rising case
numbers and have now reached an agreement for a temporary revision to
opening hours.

The following Joint Statement has been published today:

JOINT STATEMENT POST OFFICE, CWU AND UNITE
Branch Opening Hours

Post Office Limited, CWU and UNITE have been working collaboratively
and urgently on all issues relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19).

We believe this joint approach is in everyone’s best interests to ensure
your wellbeing which is first and foremost in our thinking.

We are therefore pleased to inform you that agreement has been
reached for revised opening times of DMB Offices, whilst ensuring the
continued maintenance of the essential community service the Post
Office offers, as well as limiting the time staff are in direct contact with
the public.

From Friday 29th January, the DMBs opening times will be:
• Mon – Fri: 9:00-16:30 for the majority of branches
• Mon – Fri: 9:30-17:00 for 14 branches based in London
• Sat: 9:00-14:00 for any branches that currently open beyond lunchtime

This has been a data lead decision based upon weekly and hourly
customer footfall and based upon feedback received from colleagues.
Your Area Manager will let you know which hours relate to your branch. 

There will be no making up of hours and everyone will have been
assumed to have worked the hours they were scheduled to do. WTL
sessions on a Tuesday will be unaffected for the majority of branches.

Your safety is paramount therefore we encourage you to continue to
report any form of harassment you or your colleagues may receive from
customers. Please continue to remain in contact with your manager or
union safety reps and highlight anything that puts colleagues at risk.

Due to the rapidly changing situation this agreement will be under
constant review so as to enable a speedy response where appropriate
and of course taking into account the environment across the UK. We
wish you all the very best and thank you for your amazing contribution
in these exceptionally challenging times.

Steve Blampied                      Phil Savage                Andy Furey
Head of DMB Network        Unite the Union        CWU Assistant Secretary

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Lynn Simpson, Postal Executive
member for her endeavours in engaging with senior management on this
issue. Lynn has been tenacious in representing the concerns of our members
on the front line.

Branches are urged to share this LTB and Joint Statement with our Post Office
members and we will also be publicising this helpful development via our social
media channels.

Further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

LTB 026/21 – Post Office – Covid – Revised Opening Hours for Crowns

Royal Mail Group, CWU and Unite/CMA Communication on the Protection of Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Workplaces

Royal Mail Group, CWU and Unite/CMA Communication on the Protection of Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Workplaces

Introduction

This update LTB is being issued further to LTBs 544/20 RMG CWU Joint Statement Dealing with Coronavirus Covid-19 – Protecting and Putting Employees First and Introduction of Mandatory Face Masks, 562/20 TUC – Face Coverings in the Workplace Guide, 582/20 Royal Mail Group, Message From Dr Shaun Davis Global Director Compliance & Sustainability (02.12. 20) – ‘Covid-Secure’ Compliance & Managers Actions, 583/20 Royal Mail Group – Mandatory Face Coverings and Masks – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (Version 3 and Addendums) and 603/20 Royal Mail Group – Mandatory Mask Wearing – CWU Compliance Survey (Dec 2020).

Background

The introduction of ‘Mandatory Face Coverings’ in Royal Mail Group came into force with the full support of CWU/HQ on the strong recommendation of the Health, Safety & Environment Department with the full support of the DGS(P), Postal Department Officers and PEC. A Joint Statement to that effect was signed on 9 November 2020. Strong representations have been made repeatedly through a number of letters and face to face meetings (the weekly RM/CWU National Joint Coronavirus Operational Group Skype Meetings) with Royal Mail’s senior Directors to clamp down on managers failing to enforce the ‘Mandatory Mask Policy’ that the Union had signed up to.

On 15 January 2021 a letter was sent to Ricky McAulay Royal Mail National Field Services Director calling for a ‘Strategy for Tackling Covid-19 in Royal Mail and Reducing the Risks as follows:

  1. Roll out weekly workforce Covid-19 testing of all RMG staff at the earliest opportunity.
  2. Press Government/DHSC for priority Covid-19 vaccinations for all RMG staff.
  3. Return to 2m social distancing as standard, removing 1m+ without any further delay, in line with ‘SAGE’ recommendations.
  4. Reduce the number of people permitted in a space/room at any one time, assessing space and safe maximum occupancy levels.
  5. Improve ventilation. (CIBSE recommends at least 10 litres of outside air in offices/rooms per second per person).
  6. Improve cleaning, cleaning standards, routines and frequency.
  7. Reinforce ‘compliance’ with the RMG ‘Mandatory Face Masks Policy’ in all indoor workplaces, except for those workers who are exempt. (Masks to meet WHO Standard).
  8. Require any work activity that can be completed safely outside to be conducted outside.
  9. Maintain high levels of PPE supply.
  10. Review the use/introduction of fixed or movable partitions to divide workstations.
  11. Reduce reliance on agency staff and screen those taken on.
  12. Launch a jointly designed communications plan to get the critical messages to the workforce around ‘Hands-Face-Space-Cleaning’ to the workforce.

On 19 January without any consultation with CWU/HQ a ‘unilateral’ unagreed communication was issued by Shaun Davis RMG Global Director of Compliance & Sustainability which breached the terms of the nationally agreed RMG/CWU Joint Statement of 9 November 2020. This was immediately challenged with strong representations in writing and at last Friday’s weekly RM/CWU National Joint Coronavirus Operational Group Skype Meeting on 22 January 2021. All CWU ASRs and the Postal Officers were updated on the development.

The outcome of the discussions with Ricky McAulay Royal Mail National Field Services Director and other senior Directors was to resolve the matter on the basis of a new ‘Joint Communication’ replacing the one issued on 19 January 2021.

Joint Communication Issued 26 January 2021

Following discussions with Shaun Davis RMG Global Director of Compliance & Sustainability, Rachel Boon RMG Head of Occupational Health and others, the wording of a Joint Communication, signed by the Health and Safety Leads for RMG, CWU and Unite CMA has been produced and that Joint Communication is attached.

The 26 January 2021 Joint Communication:

  • Strengthens and reinforces our joint commitment and support of ‘Mandatory Face Coverings’ in the indoor workplace as part a ‘joint approach’ and not a ‘unilateral’ one.
  • Maintains ‘Mandatory Masks’ as part of, and one component of, the holistic policy of ‘Hands-Face-Space-Better Cleaning’ etc., approach.
  • Re-asserts and defends the 9 November 2020 Joint Statement.
  • Deals with non-compliance and introduces checks on ‘exemption claims’.
  • Provides clarification for all concerned and removes previous dubiety and confusion.
  • Protects ‘vulnerable’ workers and those with hidden disabilities.
  • Ensures and maintains the full involvement of local/area CWU Reps.
  • Retains the important ‘3-Step’ compliance process, controls the application of the conduct code, maintaining fairness and consistency.
  • Strongly supports ‘Mandatory Masks’.

Previous Important Message To Managers From Shaun Davis issued on 2 December 2020

This communication was an “Important reminder to all managers to monitor and encourage employees to comply with Covid-19 preventative controls and all managers to continue high compliance” as follows:

  • Face Masks are mandatory indoors and must be worn correctly over the nose and the mouth.
  • Hands should be washed regularly, at least every two hours and more if you are about to eat or following use of the toilet facilities.
  • Hand sanitiser should be used in between hand washing.
  • Comply to social distancing (2M).
  • Don’t attend work if unwell with Covid-19 symptoms (temperature, cough, smell & taste loss).
  • Wearing a face covering does not replace good hygiene standards and social distancing, it is an additional measure.
  • Managers must continue to use weekly SMATs and monthly inspections to monitor compliance to coronavirus control measures.
  • Managers to ensure adequate monitoring and supervision in place and identify any shortcomings in social distancing or hygiene and act without delay.
  • Managers to regularly remind staff of the ‘Covid-Secure’ rules.
  • Managers to walk the floor and challenge non-compliance.
  • Managers to update risk assessments.
  • The cleaning of touch points is important to help reduce the risk of virus transmission.
  • Regularly sanitise common touch points in the workplace.

Conclusion

As agreed between RMG, CWU and Unite/CMA, the wearing of a face covering has been mandatory in ALL Royal Mail Group units and offices since 9 November 2020. Since then the situation has worsened. With the new, more infectious virus strains spreading across the UK, we must work together to ensure that we are all doing everything we can to reduce infection risks through suitable Covid-19 control measures. We need to now be fully aware of the magnitude of the pandemic second wave, in order to defend CWU members in Royal Mail’s workforce from the new Covid-19 virus strains which are 70% more infectious and transmittable than the original strain, causing new cases to soar to 60,000 a day prior to lockdown 2 and daily deaths up to 1,600 a day. This has forced the United Kingdom back into lockdown. 3.5 million people have been infected in the UK and 100,000 have died. 40,000 are in hospital. Don’t under estimate the threat is a key message to members not wanting to wear a mask!

Supply of Face Coverings And Visors

Face coverings and visors are available for all employees from their manager. Employees may also choose to wear their own personal face coverings but these must not have an exhalation valve. Improved, branded, washable, face coverings will be provided to all operational staff. These masks can be more comfortable for the wearer and are better for the environment (See LTB 025/21).

Increasing the wearing of face coverings in our indoor workplaces is IMPORTANT – we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our workmates, each other and our families.

Attachments:

  • Royal Mail Group, CWU and Unite/CMA Communication on the Protection of Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Workplaces (26 January 2021)
  • Royal Mail Group and CWU Joint Statement on the Protection of Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Mandating of Face Coverings in Indoor Workplaces (9 November 2020)
  • RMG/CWU PPE National Agreement ‘3-Step Compliance Process’
  • RMG Mandatory Face Mask Poster
  • Royal Mail Group New Branded Reusable/Washable Cotton Face Masks Image (See LTB 025/21)

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 029/21 – RMG CWU and Unite CMA Protection of Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Workplaces

RMG CWU and Unite.CMA Communication on the Protection of Employees Duri…

RMG-CWU Joint Statement – Mandating of Face Covering in Indoor Workplace…

PPE-Agreement-3-Step-Compliance-Process

RMG-Mandatory-face-coverings-poster

Royal Mail Group New Branded Reusable-Washable Cotton Face Masks

CWU ONLINE SERVICE SYSTEM (OLS): IMPORTANT CHANGES

CWU ONLINE SERVICE SYSTEM (OLS): IMPORTANT CHANGES

As part of our on-going proportionality work it has both been timely and necessary to update the CWU officers and representative’s selection categories on the OLS membership database.

The new categories that have been introduced, will not only make it easier for branches to allocate activists against their elected branch role, it will also enable the CWU to identify in more detail the diverse make up of all our representatives positions (industrial and non- industrial).

For information purposes a list of the new representative categories can be found in the attached document.

To assist branches with the process of updating their OLS representative’s database, the Equality, Education and Development Department, in conjunction with the Membership department, have produced a video tutorial for branches attention. The short video gives branches and authorised OLS users step by step instructions on how to allocate members to active positions of the branch and can be accessed using the attachment below.

All branches are encouraged to update their representative’s information by the end of March 2021. Please note that category number ‘99’ entitled, ‘CWU representatives/Committee member’ will shortly be removed. For this reason, we ask all branches to relocate any representative who is enlisted in this section to one of the new categories.

Once this exercise is completed branches and the department will be able to obtain more accurate and useful information for our next proportionality data report which will be published later this year.

Thank you in advance for your help and co-operation in this matter. Any queries on this LTB should be directed to equality&education@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Tony Kearns 
Senior Deputy General Secretary

Kate Hudson
Head of Equality, Education & Development

LTB 030/21 – CWU Online Service System OLS Important Changes

Appendix A – OLS New Branch category positions for reps and activists

Video Attachment


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TUC WOMEN’S CONFERENCE 2021 – REGISTRATION

TUC WOMEN’S CONFERENCE 2021 – REGISTRATION

This year the TUC Women’s Conference will be held online. The conference is scheduled to take place from Wednesday 3rd March to Friday 5th March 2021 and is open to all Women trade unionists.

There will be three debates at Conference open to all attendees. The themes debated reflect the key issues emerging from the final agenda:

  • The unequal impact of Covid-19 on women
  • Ending gender-based violence and harassment
  • Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work.

The timetable for the event is as follows:

Wednesday 3 March 2021Unequal impact of Covid-19 on women 

Session         Conference debate

Time             10-11.30am

Title              Trade unions: Organising against unequal impact of Covid-19 on women

Speakers       Frances O’Grady, General Secretary TUC; Gail Cartmail, TUC President; Marsha de Cordova MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

Session         Panel discussion

Time             12.15-1.30pm

Title              Working women: paying the price

Speakers       Professor Clare Wenham, LSE; Chidi King, Director of Equality ITUC; Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Director Business in the Community

Thursday 4 March 2021Ending gender-based violence and harassment 

Session         Conference debate

Time             10-10.45am

Title              Trade unions: Ending gender-based violence

Session         Panel discussion

Time             6.30-7.45pm

Title              Workplace support for survivors of domestic abuse

Friday 5 March 2021Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work 

Session         Conference debate

Time             10-10.45am

Title              Trade Unions: Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work

Session         Panel discussion

Time             6.30-7.45pm

Title              Our future. Our fight: Strengthening women’s rights and representation at work

Speakers       Speakers Karon Monaghan QC; Christina McAnea, General Secretary UNISON;  Shavanah Taj, General Secretary Wales TUC; Lucila Granada, Director FLEX;

The CWU will have involvement in this conference.   Those interested in attending the Women’s Conference will need to pre-register but it is open to all.  Once registered, attendees will be sent regular updates containing conference documents and links to sign up for the interactive workshops that will be running along with panel debates and fringe events.

Registration will be open until the day prior to the Conference, but attendees are encouraged to register before 22 February 2021 to ensure that they receive all communications and have enough time to secure their place at any breakout sessions.

To obtain as high attendance as possible we encourage you to circulate this information to your members.   The link to register is as follows:

www.tuc.org.uk/WomensConference2021

Any further enquiries with regards this please contact conferences@cwu.org or Angela Niven on 020 8971 7256.

Dave Ward

General Secretary

LTB 028/21 – TUC Womens Conference 2021 – Registration

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TUC LGBT+ CONFERENCE 2021 – REGISTRATION

TUC LGBT+ CONFERENCE 2021 – REGISTRATION

This year the TUC LGBT+ Conference will be held as a virtual conference. The conference is scheduled to run from Thursday 25th February to Friday 26th February and is open to all LGBT+ trade unionists and colleagues.   The timetable for the conference is as follows:

Thursday 25 February

14:00-16:00 Committee Statement Debate: Covid-19 and LGBT+ Workers 

18:00-19:00 Panel Discussion: LGBT+ workers and Black Lives Matter movement 

19:00-20:00 Panel Discussion: International LGBT+ Rights and Solidarity

Friday 26 February

14:00-16:00 Committee Statement Debate: Trans and non-binary workers’ rights

The CWU will have involvement at the conference.  Those interested in attending the LGBT+ Conference will need to pre-register.  Once registered, attendees will be sent regular updates containing conference documents and links to sign up for the individual sessions that will be running along with panel debates and fringe events.

Registration will be open until the day prior to the Conference, but attendees are encouraged to register before 12 February 2021 to ensure that they receive all communications and have enough time to secure their place at any breakout sessions.

To obtain as high attendance as possible we encourage you to circulate this information to your members.   The link to register is as follows:

www.tuc.org.uk/TUCconferences

Any further enquiries with regards this please contact conferences@cwu.org or Angela Niven on 020 8971 7256.

Dave Ward

General Secretary

LTB 027/21 – TUC LGBT+ Conference – Registration

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Royal Mail Group Introduction of New Branded Reusable/Washable Cotton Face Masks:

Royal Mail Group Introduction of New Branded Reusable/Washable Cotton Face Masks:

Introduction

The wearing of face coverings/masks has shown to protect the wearer and those around them from Coronavirus/Covid-19 transmission and infection and against the backdrop of a rapidly increasing infection rate and the number of virus deaths.  That is why Royal Mail Group made it mandatory for all employees to wear face coverings when working indoors unless an individual has a legitimate exception. A joint statement supporting the mandatory introduction of face coverings/masks was signed by Royal Mail Group and the CWU on 9 November 2020. Since that time the Health, Safety and Environment Department has continually pressed Royal Mail Group to improve the level of compliance with the mandatory standard and to improve the quality of face masks.

Background

Government Chief Medical Officers and Scientists along with the National Health Service (NHS), Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE),  Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Doctors in Unite (the UK’s oldest medical trade union representing junior doctors, general practitioners and hospital consultants) amongst many, many others strongly support and recommend the use of face masks, concluding that face masks play a valuable role in reducing transmission of Coronavirus in the UK community.

Face coverings are mandatory across the UK in the following:

  • Post Offices
  • Royal Mail Customer Service Points (which are classed as shops – staff and customers must wear face masks/coverings)
  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

People are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

Royal Mail staff should also wear face masks where they meet people in other indoor settings during their duty e.g., business receptions, blocks of flats etc.

The New Branded Reusable/Washable Cotton Face Masks

The new masks comply with UK’s General Products Safety Regulations 2005 and they have certification for suitability of the fabric for wearing over the nose and mouth. As they have not been supplied as medical grade masks the manufacturer has used their standard non-medical mask description on some of the documentation.

Before deciding which face coverings to purchase, Royal Mail Group considered 12 types of masks from different suppliers which were tested for comfort, fit, breathability, appearance and protection with a range of different sized users, both men and women and people with and without glasses. The Paragon face coverings were the best face covering tested, giving a good fit to a wide range of users with high levels of comfort.

The masks have 3 layers of fabric as recommended by government. Two layers are tightly knitted cotton and a further layer contains SilvaDur antimicrobial treatment. Two or three layers of tightly woven fabric have been shown in studies to be highly effective at filtering out the virus, equivalent to surgical mask standards. When wearing the masks, it is easy to feel the resistance to air flow through them when compared to many other face coverings.

A key consideration for Royal Mail in the selection of the suppliers was also their ability to provide the required level of assurance that they meet the standards expected of a supplier to Royal Mail including the Responsible Procurement Code and the Modern Slavery Act.

The masks are being delivered to the managers of each operational Unit based on the staff in post numbers and will be distributed on the basis of 5 masks per employee. Additional supplies are available which Unit managers can order. See image of the new mask attached.

The new branded, reusable, face coverings will also reduce the impact on the environment.

Putting on and Removing The Mask

The mask is put on and removed by holding it by the elastic from behind, ensuring that hands are clean before touching the mask.  When not being worn the mask should be stored in personal possessions or in a polythene bag and not left on surfaces where it could be contaminated.  Wearers should avoid touching the mask whilst wearing it.

Changing The Mask

It is important to change the mask and wear a clean mask each day. Members should also change the mask during the day if it becomes wet.

Washing The Masks

The washing requirements for the reusable face coverings are as follows; The face coverings can be hand washed or washed in a washing machine at 60 degrees (not 30 degrees as per packaging) for up to 30 washes. They should not be dry cleaned. Fabric conditioner should not be used when washing the masks as this can leave residue on the materials which should not be breathed in.

Ordering Extra Royal Mail Reusable Face Masks

Units can order extra face coverings from the web site: https://store.paragon-cc.co.uk/rm-stationery. There is a limited supply of additional face coverings available and they will be prioritised to operational units.  Any non-operational employees can request a face covering via the above link (subject to availability) or at the unit they are attending if they are unable to work from home.

Disposable Masks

The original ‘disposable’ masks will still be available to order for those employees who prefer to wear them and for Agency/Casual employees.

“Wash Hands-Cover Face-Make Space”

It’s important to remember – face coverings alone will not completely stop people from contracting the virus. They can be an effective tool in preventing the spread of the virus in the workplace and help reduce the risk of infection. Face Masks must not lead to a relaxed attitude to hand washing/sanitising, social distancing, keeping the workplace clean and ventilation. Face coverings play a valuable role in reducing transmission of Coronavirus.

Exemptions

Royal Mail Group fully recognises that some employees are unable to wear face coverings for medical or psychological reasons which covers a wide range of illnesses, impairments or disabilities. Managers must be mindful and respectful of such circumstances and will work jointly with Union Representatives to ensure these employees are not penalised or otherwise discriminated against based on exemption. Only those employees with a legitimate reason for exemption will not need to wear a face covering whilst working indoors. Due to the high infection rate a new revised process of verifying exemption has been put in place following RMG discussions with the CWU which protects the interests, safety and wellbeing of the workforce as a whole. The new process and an agreed joint communication will be reported in a separate LTB.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

21LTB025 Royal Mail Group Introduction of New Branded Reusable Washable Cotton Face Masks

Royal Mail Group New Branded Reusable-Washable Cotton Face Masks

Show Racism the Red Card – Short duration workshop programme

Show Racism the Red Card – Short duration workshop programme

Building on the close links with SRtRC, and in response to Branches positive feedback relating to other joint engagement events, we have arranged an exciting new, hard hitting, and fast-track
training programme.

A schedule of 14 workshops will be delivered by SRtRC facilitators.

Workshops will be broken down and delivered in two parts, each of 90 – 120 minutes duration and applicants will be expected to commit to attend both parts:

Part 1

Barriers to Prejudice, and the Role of Unconscious Bias
The initial session explores barriers to tackling prejudice in the workplace and throughout society.

This workshop considers the causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination, the impact of unconscious bias and privilege on our thought processes, and why it is important to utilise critical thinking skills to counteract the influence of media, rumours, and myths. The workshop will also allay fears, created by the media, around correct use of language and terminology. This session is also designed to ask participants to reflect on their own prejudices in a safe, nonjudgmental
environment.

Recognising & Responding to racism and prejudice
Consideration then moves to discriminatory attitudes, helping to define a racist/prejudice related incident and proceeds to an activity looking at best practice in responding to prejudice in the workplace and when dealing with members issues. It concludes by looking at the consequences of not challenging discriminatory attitudes/practice, followed by tips on how to effectively challenge prejudice.

Part 2

Embedding Equality in the Workplace and Ally-ship
The workshop builds on the knowledge gained from Part 1 and explores good practice, techniques and strategies that can be utilised to support members in holistically promoting equality throughout the workplace. Ally-ship provides the opportunity to better support colleagues who may be from marginalised groups. This workshop will help people recognise the power and influence they may have, and how this can be best utilised in order to take effective action to build a more inclusive
workplace.

The Language of Equality
This session asks delegates to reflect on the powerful nature of language in the workplace when engaging with members and employers. A follow up activity considers appropriate use of
terminology relating to identity. Those taking part will be able to ask, in safety, questions about any words they are unsure about when describing people and groups.

By the end of the workshops, participants should:

· Understand the need to critically reflect on their personal prejudices  and professional practice
· Have a greater understanding of appropriate terminology relating to ethnicity
· Have an increased understanding of how to recognise racism
· Be better equipped to respond to incidents of racism
· Be more aware for the need for a strong organisational culture which clearly demonstrates an inclusive & anti-racism stance

Dates including cut-off:
Due to the fairly short notice and with numbers limited, a closing date to apply for any of the dates of 4th February 2021 has been set and will be strictly adhered to.

Part 1
1. 10th Feb 10am – 12pm
2. 10th Feb 2pm – 4pm
3. 17th Feb 10am – 12pm
4. 17th Feb 4pm – 6pm
5. 24th Feb 10am – 12pm
6. 24th Feb 4pm – 6pm
7. 3rd March 10am – 12pm

Part 2
1. 3rd March 2pm – 4pm
2. 10th March 10am – 12pm
3. 10th March 4pm – 6pm
4. 17th March 10am – 12pm
5. 17th March 4pm – 6pm
6. 24th March 10am – 12pm
7. 24th March 2pm – 4pm

All participants completing both days will receive a certificate from Show Racism the Red Card.

Application Process
Authorised applications must be received by the cut-off date.
Branches must send an email to equality&education@cwu.org via the Branch Secretary or authorised deputy only with the following information:

· Two dates only that are being applied for (Part 1 & Part 2)
· Name of applicant
· Branch
· Membership number of applicant
· Contact email address for the applicant
· Contact mobile number
· Any adjustments that require consideration

When applications have been received applicants MUST be registered as CWU Reps/Officers on the OLS system for applications to be processed.

IT, Infrastructure and learning differences
Having tested online delivery of samples of both accredited and unaccredited courses, it is crucial that the student is set up appropriately and in good time before the training commences.

The learner must preferably have access to a good PC / laptop. Tablets can be used but have some limitation in our experience. Attending training courses using a mobile phone is not acceptable.

There must be a stable internet connection from where the learning is taking place.

We would appreciate Branches assistance in ensuring any applicants are prepared in line with the above points. If any reps encounter difficulties getting set up with IT equipment in preparation for
attendance, please advise their Branch Secretary, Union Learning Rep or the Equality, Education & Development as soon as possible.

Additionally, upon application; please ensure that we are aware in good time of any adjustments that may need to be arranged such as issues relating to dyslexia or sight / hearing differences.

Release
Paid release from the employer does NOT apply.

Please forward any enquiries relating to this LTB to equality&education@cwu.org in the first instance.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Hudson
Head of Equality, Education & Development

LTB 024/21 – Show Racism the Red Card – Short duration workshop programme

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