Revisions, Resourcing, Earnings Packages and Vans
Increasing local level autonomy to allow local managers and CWU Representatives to agree and decide local solutions to the daily challenges rather than have to wait and rely on someone distant from the problem to make the decision, is a major part of our strategy in deploying the Pathway to Change Agreement.
The revision programme we agreed was always ambitious, deployed from a standing start and historically unprecedented in scale and timelines. That strategy was always going to expose any weakness in respect of systems and decision-making, but what it has also exposed is genuine managerial capability issues. Inaccurate data, inadequate planning and poor / slow decision-making has made life really difficult for Postal Workers. In the dispute years, these failings were disguised, however deploying the Agreement has forced them to come to the surface, allowing us to combat them one by one.
In contrast, Postal Workers have shone and put in an extraordinary effort. One thing is for sure and that is that none of the failings recently prominent in the media are the fault of Postal Workers, who have been exceptional.
Trying to maintain a great public service throughout the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for everybody, especially whilst deploying major changes and considering the great annual challenge of the Christmas period pressure.
Whilst our members have been absolutely brilliant, Postal Workers and the Public we serve deserve better. This LTB is being circulated to acknowledge this and to assure all CWU Representatives that we have been addressing these issues and agreeing a series of interventions to give local managers and CWU Representatives the tools and autonomy to respond locally and at pace, in order to tackle the current challenges.
1/ To ensure that local negotiations are not constrained by local managers insisting that we only deliver T24 and T48 products, we published the following in a Joint Statement on 29thNovember 2021:
‘Royal Mail Group is committed to the USO and the delivery, collection and processing of letters, packets and parcels with equal status of importance and where we are experiencing challenges it is important that any required contingencies are agreed locally and must include all commercial and USO products and not priorities T24 and T48 parcels’.
If your local manager is not discussing and agreeing coverage and contingences in line with the above, the IR Framework / Dispute Resolution Procedure (DRP) should be used to ensure an appropriate agreement is reached.
2/ If resourcing issues are a problem then we have agreed to speed up the recruitment process by utilising ‘friends and family’ referrals, as well as local advertising and social media groups, to accelerate what was a far too elongated and centralised HR process.
If your local manager is refusing to adopt these strategies in an effort to relieve the pressure on the local workforce and maintain Quality of Service, then the IR Framework / DRP should be used to ensure an appropriate agreement is reached.
3/ Regarding the lack of vans, local CWU Representatives should not accept ‘jam tomorrow’ promises from managerial sources further up the line. If firm supply dates cannot be given, Representatives should insist that local managers work with them to source local suppliers where possible.
If local managers refuse to respond pro-actively in this regard, the IR Framework / DRP should be used to ensure an appropriate agreement is reached.
4/ In respect of earnings packages, which would ensure robust coverage and maintain Quality of Service, any proposals from the local CWU Representative should be considered and not be unreasonably rejected.
If local managers are refusing to respond to potential solutions addressing Quality of Service failures and robust resourcing arrangements by utilising our own skilled workforce, the IR Framework / DRP should be used to ensure an appropriate agreement is reached.
5/ In respect of the 70hrs cap, the following has been communicated to all local managers.
‘We do communicate that there is a 70hrs cap and local managers should not automatically plan above this (including Peak). However, where there is an agreed need in a specific location the cap can be exceeded. So it’s a needs based approach, locally agreed via a sensible and pragmatic approach. There is definitely not an edict to not exceed the 70hrs cap’.
If local managers are refusing to respond to reasonable proposals aimed to maintain Quality of Service, ensure robust resourcing arrangements and taking the pressure off our members by utilising the above, the IR Framework / DRP should be used to ensure an appropriate agreement is reached.
Hopefully this combination of interventions will strengthen the ability of local managers and CWU Representatives to make the right decisions where it matters, in the workplace on a daily basis. The failure of not doing all that we can to support Postal Workers through these very difficult times will further impact on the workforce morale and result in Customers and the Public not receiving the service they deserve.
We encourage all local Representatives to push hard for the most robust possible arrangements and contingencies to be put in place in order to ensure the best achievable Quality of Service, even if this means using the IR Framework / DRP when local managers are failing to adequately respond.
In closing, we wish to thank all CWU Representatives and our members for their magnificent daily efforts throughout one of the most difficult times in our history. Do not let the failings of systems, data or managerial capability define you. You all do any excellent job and it is a future worth fighting for. We will address all of these barriers and weakness, in order to deliver a Royal Mail Group fit for the next generation.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)