Royal Mail/CWU National Joint Statement Covid-19 Pandemic –Next Steps in Easing Lockdown Restrictions in Royal Mail Group andRe-Introduction of Shared Vans and Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs)

Royal Mail/CWU National Joint Statement Covid-19 Pandemic –
Next Steps in Easing Lockdown Restrictions in Royal Mail Group and
Re-Introduction of Shared Vans and Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs)

Dear Colleagues,

Further to previous LTB and communications, and as a consequence of both HM Government’s and the UK devolved Authorities announcements, discussions and drafts have been exchanged during the course of the last week with Royal Mail which have culminated in a National Joint statement in regard to the above being concluded.

Subsequent to announcements by HM Government on the easing of lockdown and restrictions within society and the implication of this advice within the workplace the operational arrangements can best be described as extremely difficult.  The situation and clarity necessary to provide guidance has been exacerbated and made even more problematic due to the different measures, details and timescales of easing of restrictions across the UK.

Therefore, to capture all of these elements coherently in an agreed National Joint document with the employer has been difficult to achieve.  However, we believe that in the attached Joint Statement this has been achieved through working jointly, with the full involvement of both the CWU Health Safety & Environmental and Postal Departments.  The Joint Statement, which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive, builds on and reinforces the commitments contained within the previously agreed documents in relation to the return to van sharing.

In addition, the Joint Statement also ensures that a correct and supportive approach is adopted in all workplaces and includes an agreed process for all the Safety, operational and individuals’ concerns and issues being dealt with and resolved.

Accordingly, Royal Mail Group and the CWU will adopt a gradual approach which aims to ensure that this will minimise further infections of the virus and any harm to the health of the workforce – maintaining our joint ‘safety first’ philosophy.

The Joint Statement is extensive in its content and will require careful reading by all concerned but the salient points are as follows:

  • Royal Mail Group will re-introduce shared vans and LGVs subject to the respective legislative changes appropriate to that part of the United Kingdom along with appropriate safety controls and safe working instructions being applied, in consultation with CWU Area and Workplace Safety, Delivery and Distribution Representatives.
  • The return to Shared Vans and LGVs will therefore commence from (taking account of any individual and operational issues which must be jointly resolved in each unit beforehand) as follows:
    • England w/c 19th July 2021.
    • Northern Ireland w/c 26th July 2021 (subject to final confirmation on the 22nd July 2021).
    • Wales 7th August 2021 (subject to final confirmation).
    • Scotland 9th August 2021.
  • Meanwhile all current workplace social distancing controls and safe working practices will remain in place across the UK until further notice.
  • Royal Mail Group will fully recognise individual circumstances (medical, mental health, stress, anxiety etc.) in respect of those unable to share vehicles and make reasonable adjustments as appropriate.
  • Risk controls remain important to minimise the potential risk of Covid-19 virus transmission.
  • Routine twice weekly voluntary Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing for all individuals is strongly advised and encouraged, particularly if van/vehicle sharing. Testing will be actively encouraged to support both the workplace and the community. Both parties continue to encourage all members/employees to participate in the opportunity to test them self as this provides assurance to themselves, family members and work colleagues that they are virus free.
  • Royal Mail Group will not require self-isolating workers to come to work and will fully support those workers feeling unwell in not attending work.
  • In England, all employees are strongly encouraged to continue to use face coverings when sharing a van or LGV and when working inside, particularly in enclosed, crowded workspaces (wearing the Royal Mail Group Branded 3-ply face covering or equivalent).
  • In Northern Ireland face coverings remain mandatory until 26th July 2021.
  • In Scotland and Wales face coverings remain mandatory until further notice.
  • Royal Mail Group retains the right to ‘mandate’ face coverings in line with a risk assessment review and based on infection rate data.
  • The Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on safe working will be taken into account in preparing risk assessments which Royal Mail Group are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety laws.
  • Vehicle cabs must be kept clean and touchpoints must be cleaned both before and after each use.  
  • Vehicles must be ventilated when in shared use.
  • All managers must be fully up to speed with the content of the risk assessment and the controls that must be deployed to ensure van sharing is safe (including deployment of and adherence to the associated Safe Working Instruction). Managers must also follow the processes in place to monitor the use of shared vans and ensure alignment to the risk controls.
  • Royal Mail Group will continue to operate a ‘contactless delivery’ approach.
  • Royal Mail Group will strongly emphasise “Hands; Face; Space; Ventilate; Clean and Test”.
  • Royal Mail Group and CWU will strongly encourage and support vaccination – the personal decision being made by the individual in line with the health care professional.
  • Royal Mail Group through Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions and Royal Mail Fleet will ensure high standards of building and vehicle cleanliness, sanitisation, touch point cleaning and ventilation.
  • Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions will identify poorly ventilated buildings and take steps to improve ventilation.
  • Royal Mail Group will continue to reflect Government (central and devolved nations) and their agencies advice and guidance.
  • Royal Mail Group will support Government messaging through internal communications and engagement strategy.
  • Royal Mail Group risk management and risk assessment procedures will be jointly reviewed and be regularly monitored with full CWU ASR/WSR involvement and engagement across all Units.
  • Royal Mail Group will retain contingency measures. Infection rate data will be monitored and Shared Vans/LGVs may be removed and other controls put in place should the infection rate rise to a level considered to require that course of action, if assessed to be a necessary infection control measure either locally or nationally.
  • Royal Mail Group strategy will continue to review World Health Organization (WHO) Covid-19 guidance.

Both parties will continue to meet weekly at National level and review the measures outlined above in order to monitor arrangements.  This will include the monitoring of any local trends and increases in the spread of the virus and seeking to resolve any operational or individual issues that may be raised by either party.

Any queries to the content of the above please contact:

Deliveries/Collections: Outdoor Department reference 600, email address: njones@cwu.org

Processing/Distribution/Parcelforce: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary email: dwyatt@cwu.org, ref: 014.14

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch
CWU Assistant Secretary

Davie Robertson        
CWU Assistant Secretary

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

Health, Safety & Environment Dept.

LTB 301/21 – Next Steps in Easing Lockdown Restrictions in RMG and Re-Introduction of Shared Vans and Large Goods Vehicles – 20.07.21

Att: RM-CWU-Next-Steps-in Easing-Lockdown- (SD-DJ) v7 – 20.07.21 

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