JOINT STATEMENT RM RELAY AND THE COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION – Pathway to Change Agreement – Deployment of Technology and the SWW in Relay Depots

JOINT STATEMENT RM RELAY AND THE COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION – Pathway to Change Agreement – Deployment of Technology and the SWW in Relay Depots

Branches and representatives will be aware of the activity that has been taking place in relation to the Pathway to Change agreement across the various Royal Mail Group functions.

In line with the aforementioned, the department has also been in discussions with Royal Mail Specialist Services (Relay) in relation to revision activity to release the SWW for members based in that business unit.

The discussions have been difficult due the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bespoke service offerings that Relay provide. To compound the difficulties further pressures were put on the negotiations when it was unexpectedly announced in April 2021 that Relay had not retained the DHSC test kit contract and that work would be moving to a competitor (City Sprint) from 31st May 2021. Fortunately, this decision was subsequently reversed and Relay was awarded the contract. 

Both of the above issues built added complexities into what had been intense discussions with the business to conclude an agreed programme of revision activity to release the 2nd hour of the SWW. 

The department are able to report that a Joint Statement has now been concluded and endorsed by the Postal Executive, a copy of which is attached for information.

Relay had expressed a desire early in discussions to utilise technology more to optimise the effectiveness of their operation, by using Geoplan technology to deploy route and performance optimisation processes. This Depot Optimiser technology would replace the current Paragon system for the purposes of route revisions and duty construction. Pilot activity for the introduction of this technology is therefore the basis for the SWW activity.

Although Geoplan will be used solely as a route revision tool rather than as a means of managing workload in real time, it should be noted that the usual protections in terms of data management, privacy and discipline have been included in the document.

The pilot activity will take place at the Relay Thurrock and Wednesbury depots, which will be overseen by the Relay Joint Working Group to ensure that any technical issues can be identified and addressed and that drivers remain supported.

The pilot activity will be subject to review and agreement at National level prior to any further deployment.

The Joint Statement contains a three-step process in respect of the pilot activity and guidelines for local negotiations should deployment be agreed:

The following will be the enablers for the 2nd hour of the SWW: 

1. Thurrock and Wednesbury Depot pilots reviewed and deployed.

2. Revision deployment plan/timeline for remaining Relay Depots agreed.

3. Commitment to Productivity Flightpath in years 2 and 3 including the ongoing use of Geoplan technology.

The pilot activity will establish the workload baseline for future productivity improvements in respect of years 2 and 3, in line with the principles of The Pathway to Change agreement, which includes a flightpath to achieve 100 BSI by year 3. 

Commitment is also given that the JWG will monitor the Geoplan technology and review synergy opportunities to move workload through utilisation of the Parcelforce/RM locations, which could provide a more efficient footprint for the Relay operation where applicable.

Any proposed changes will be carried out in line with existing procedures and National agreements, including MTSF. 

The SWW benefit will be released for all Relay depot grade employees on the deployment date of the two pilot depot revisions.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.orgquoting reference: 054.06.

Yours sincerely

Davie Robertson

Assistant Secretary

LTB 306/21

Att: Joint Statement SWW RMSS 27.07.21

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