Addendum to the Code of Practice between Royal Mail & CWU on Dress Standards (Revised Uniform Agreement 2018): Covering the New Range of Uniform Allocation
(The New Performance Wardrobe)
Branches may recall that LtB 067, issued on the 22nd of February 2021, set out an agreed Terms of Reference of the trial of the new Uniform Range. Since then meetings have continued to be held with Royal Mail on the trial and feedback review process.
The new uniform range (which Royal Mail have entitled The Performance Wardrobe) has now been trialled across 11 different job roles within Royal Mail Group and involves some 340 frontline colleagues who agreed to be included and have been selected to ensure both a gender and age profile representative balances. The feedback from the trial has been extremely positive and apart from some very minor garment alterations (such as the re-locating of the pen pocket on trousers/shorts and the removing the black colour blocking), it has now been agreed by the Postal Executive to move forward with the new uniform range.
To reflect this decision, attached here is an Addendum to the Code of Practice between Royal Mail & CWU on Dress Standards (Revised Uniform Agreement 2018): Covering the New Range of Uniform Allocation. The attached Addendum confirms:
- The new uniform range has been subject to an agreed Terms of Reference trial involving widespread and lengthy frontline engagement and feedback. The new uniform range builds on some of the latest commercial design and fabric developments and more importantly has been built around previous frontline employee feedback gathered over the past few years from workplace Uniform Roadshow visits.
- That the new uniform range is viewed as a marked improvement to the current core uniform design and style which has remained in place for over 10 years.
- The new uniform range will result in some changes to the uniform initial allocation and replacement cycle as the new range is based on a large selection of items. However, both parties have agreed to monitor this initial allocation/replacement cycle going forward and updated as necessary.
- It is jointly recognised that the rollout of the new design is not viewed as an end state and that Royal Mail and CWU are jointly committed to ensuring that all uniform remains fit for purpose and will continue to monitor and review the performance of garments and footwear. It is agreed that Royal Mail will work with the CWU in the development and improvement of all uniform items.
- The outlined national rollout of the new uniform and the upfront and advanced uniform order timescales.
- The remaining Code of Practise between Royal Mail & CWU on Dress Standards (Revised Uniform Agreement 2018) remains unchanged as a result of this Addendum.
In setting out the attached Addendum it should be noted that whilst feedback from the trial was positive from day one and from a CWU position there was little question on the final move over to the new range. The trial itself and this decision to move to a new uniform range becoming subject to higher level attention both within Royal Mail and with external media which sadly predated the issuing of this LtB.
As part of the move over to the new range it should also be noted that in order to manage current stock and ongoing reorder levels and avoid large scale wastage of the current uniform design in advance of the switchover to the new range, new starters will be allocated a slightly reduced uniform allocation on the current garments of the ‘Polo Shirts’ (from 5 to 3) and ‘Trousers or Shorts’ (from 3 to 2) until being allocated the new uniform range in full. This slightly reduced level of uniform is based on the current two year replacement cycle as the new uniform range will start to be rolled out from March 2022 and completed by January 2023. However, Royal Mail have confirmed that the normal arrangements on replacing ‘damaged and worn’ items will remain in place and that requests for additional ‘Polo Shirts’ and ‘Trousers or Shorts’ will be met in line with the full 2 year allocation cycle for those individuals at the later stages of the national rollout to the new uniform range.
Finally, in setting out the agreement on the new uniform range it is fully understood that the final switchover will not be completed until January 2023. Whilst clearly it would have been preferable if a short national rollout period could have been achieved, sadly the timelines outlined simply reflect the manufactures capacity and lead-in time to produce the new range and supply the overall number of uniform items needed within Royal Mail. However, the normal re-ordering and replacement cycle arrangements will remain in place for members during the transition period.
As set out above, the conclusion of this trial and the new uniform range is not the end state, but it does nonetheless mark a major and long overdue step change and improvement to the uniform range which will hopefully be valued and welcomed by CWU members.
Any queries to the content of the above please contact Mark Baulch, Outdoor Department, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting reference 500, or to Davie Robertson, Processing, Logistics, Parcelforce, International, Quadrant Department, email: email@example.com quoting reference: 005, or to Carl Maden, PTCS Department, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting reference 420.
Mark Baulch Carl Maden Davie Robertson
CWU Assistant Secretary CWU Assistant Secretary (Acting) CWU Assistant Secretary