Branches and Representatives will be fully aware of the internal noise regarding this very serious issue, as well as the almost daily attention in the media regarding letter failures in Royal Mail Group.

There have been a number of contributory factors that have led to this situation but the Postal Executive are in agreement that the current position is unacceptable and a series of measures must urgently be agreed in order to restore quality of service.

We have huge experience at all levels of the Union and many will remember that this is not the first time such a response has been needed. It was necessary in the 1980s and the 1990s and was a key element in the Four Pillars Agreement when we proposed a similar approach to deploy that agreement.  Clearly the elements that affect the disciplines required are different between those times and now – there was not an international pandemic taking place during those periods of our history. However, the managerial attitudes in respect of revisions, recruitment, and genuine acknowledgement and response to the problems have unfortunately been all too familiar.

Factors such as Ofcom no longer allowing Royal Mail Group to relax performance targets (as they did during the pandemic), media condemnation of Royal Mail Group’s quality of service performance and the devastating impact on our members’ morale, have made the business realise that joint urgent action is now needed to resolve the matter.

Against that backdrop the attached Joint Statement was unanimously endorsed by the Postal Executive at a meeting on 1st February and a call was held with Divisional Representatives a day later. Branches and Representatives should be aware that this Joint Statement and the national action plan has full top level commitment and support at the highest level of the CWU and Royal Mail.

Branches and Representatives will note that the terms of the Joint Statement go way further than just assuming that revisions, recruitment and absence are the only reason for the current situation. It is of paramount importance that the whole pipeline operation and appropriate staffing requirements apply to all functions. The work plan must serve deliveries in the right way with work being delivered from the unit on the day it arrives, work plan disciplines being applied throughout the pipeline and ensuring people are fully trained in line with our agreements. Budgetary constraints cannot be a barrier to enabling what is locally agreed as necessary to resolve specific local problems.

The Joint Statement sets out the strongest possible arrangements to support local units and workplaces throughout our structures, including a National Joint Quality of Service Steering Group that will act in a similar fashion as the national pandemic group i.e. all functions represented from a national level in the room together. This national group will monitor the progress that is being made but also act as the forum to unlock any matters that are preventing progress.

This joint approach will also be replicated throughout our field structures via a Local Joint Working Group (LJWG) that is based on the relevant Mail Centre catchment area. This will allow for a detailed cross-functional analysis to be undertaken at divisional level and below, determine fact from fiction, restore work plan disciplines, quality of service standards, daily clearance and prioritise those units or workplaces that are experiencing the greatest failures for urgent remedial action.

These processes will be overseen and driven forward by our Divisional Representatives and the Postal Executive Member(s) aligned to each division who will give the strongest support to our Local and Area Representatives to ensure we land this initiative at pace. Branches will recall that we adopted a similar structural approach during the pandemic which proved very effective and genuinely useful in understanding the immediate scale of local problems and ensuring issues were resolved promptly.

Branches will also note that the Joint Statement contains words on Sunday working designed to inspire innovation locally in the office in respect of staffing arrangements, whilst also making it clear that quality of service is important across all of our products.

The Postal Executive were united in the belief that the Joint Statement carries some very strong commitments which will empower our Representatives at all levels, and expose any unjustified managerial excuses for not acting or making the right agreements to unlock the quality of service issues that have been experienced. The IR Framework together with the strict timelines contained within the Dispute Resolution Process should be used if necessary to unblock any matters of contention, but also to provide the focus and practical interventions needed to create solutions.

Given the importance of this Joint Statement and the urgent action needed to start the joint processes involved, it will be formally launched early next week by the CWU National Officers and Royal Mail National Directors.

Colleagues are asked to give this Joint Statement the widest possible circulation so that urgent work can begin to bring the service Royal Mail Group offer back to the very best in the UK.

Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Pullinger

Deputy General Secretary (Postal) 

LTB 051/22 – Restoring Quality of Service

LTB 051/22 ATTACHMENT 1 – QofS Final with Signatures 02022022

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