Joint Statement Between the CWU and Royal Mail Group – Average Pay on Annual Leave (Holiday Pay) in Royal Mail Group Joint Update on Interim Payment Arrangements and Christmas Peak 2021/22 and Ongoing Talks
Further to LTB 370/21 circulated to Branches and Representatives on 6th September 2021, negotiations have continued with Royal Mail Group about the second and last interim payment and the impact of Period 9 (December 2021). This is in advance of an agreed longer-term process for a system solution as outlined in the terms of the national agreement.
It was initially the aim of both parties to finalise a Joint Statement by 31st October 2021, covering the second interim payment but this timeline was extended slightly, predominantly due to the volume of enquiries in respect of back pay. I am however now pleased to report that at a meeting on 10thNovember 2021 the attached Joint Statement was concluded and then endorsed by the Postal Executive on 17th November 2021.
Branches will see the similarity to the methodology, which was previously used for the back pay calculations encompassing Period 9. This has been replicated for the second and final interim payment. The Joint Statement also includes the exact broad monthly dates for the second interim period payment that will be made in May 2022 although the exact date is still to be confirmed. This payment will be subject to meeting the agreed regularity criteria in the national agreement but is not dependent upon those who still have a registered Employment Tribunal (ET) case withdrawing these claims, as is also the case with the first interim payment to be made on 26thNovember 2021.
From the attached Joint Statement, Branches and Representatives will see that there are once again agreed conditions attached to the removal of Period 9, meaning that a failure to meet the regularity threshold due to the alternative pay arrangements during this period will not mean a disqualification from the regularity test. Consequently, if a member qualifies in the remaining monthly periods (7, 8, 10, 11 and 12), any overtime hours paid as normal overtime rate and/or all part-time single rate overtime outside of agreed temporary contract variations are included in the calculation.
Back Pay – There have been two dates for back pay to date, on 8thOctober and 12th November 2021. A further date of 3rdDecember 2021 has now been agreed with the business for those who have withdrawn registered ET claims but missed the first two dates. There is however a cut-off date of 23rdNovember 2021 for this to be completed in order to be included in the regularity calculation for payments.
There has been a reduction in the number of people who still have to express their preference around a live ET claim but a third and final letter is being sent from Legal Services at the end of this month to members who still have to issue their instruction. Those who return the correspondence and ask for their ET claims to be withdrawn will be included in the back pay calculation for a further payment date yet to be agreed in January 2022. Members should note that if a case was originally progressed only as far as the ACAS stage then no correspondence will be received. There are continuing discussions in terms of back pay around a number of related issues such as certain duty patterns, Government advice during Covid and paternity leave. The impact of Jury Service has also been raised although this applies to the longer-term system solutions.
Previous ACAS Settlement Enquiries – There have been a limited number of questions around whether previous ACAS settlements have actually been received and it has now been agreed that any questions of this type will be sent to Royal Mail Group to forward to Weightman Solicitors for clarification.
LGV Drivers – Branches and Representatives will recall that the Joint Statement attached to LTB 370/21 and circulated on 6thSeptember contained the following commitment:
“In terms of LGV Drivers who have an element of pre-scheduled overtime allocated into their duty time, which is treated as SA for holiday pay calculation, it is agreed that further national talks will be held to identify the additional ad-hoc overtime levels and how these hours will be captured for the regularity calculation and, subject to meeting the agreed regularity criteria, paid as back pay to LGV Grades”.
There is therefore no truth to the narrative that LGV Drivers are not included in the national agreement. However, due to the historical complexities surrounding the overtime of LGV Drivers (being keyed into PSP, particularly in relation to the pre-scheduled hours), those LGV Drivers who perform work at that grade only, have not yet been assessed for back pay calculations. Royal Mail Group have issued the following advice to managers regarding keying into PSP:
“Since 2014 all prescheduled overtime for LGV Professional Drivers (Class C, C&E) should be included in the calculations in relation to the Agenda for Growth Improved Holiday Pay agreement and paid when holiday is taken, including Bank/Public Holidays. Accordingly, for LGV drivers the recent overtime holiday pay agreement only covers Ad hoc overtime (including overtime performed at another level) which is not covered by LGV prescheduled overtime holiday pay arrangements. However, as pre-scheduled and ad hoc overtime has to date been indistinguishable on PSP, several actions are required to ensure payments can be correctly assessed…”.
Therefore, whilst this will resolve the matter going forward, some of these anomalies may impact upon the terms of our national agreements and those are being dealt with departmentally at the present time. The outcome of these talks will inform how back pay for LGV drivers is calculated. There are also a significant number of cases where overtime is being performed through substitution in both the LGV grade and other functions that are still due to be assessed for back pay eligibility.
Long-term Systems Solutions – Going forward, the focus will be on concluding an agreed process around the longer-term system solutions for future payments from April 2022 onwards with further joint updates being shared as these talks progress together with joint clarification of the agreed arrangements from that point on.
An agreement on holiday pay of this magnitude was always going to result in points of clarification being raised but members who have hit the regularity threshold have started to receive money they had been denied for many years. In closing, it is recognised that dealing with these issues has involved a lot of time and effort from those Branches and Representatives who continue to advise members on the details of the national agreement. To all of them, I would like to express my thanks.
Further developments will be reported in due course. Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)