Royal Mail Group Change Demands Update

Royal Mail Group Change Demands Update

Further to LTB 268/22 that was circulated on 15th June 2022, Branches and Representatives will be aware of the far-reaching change demands that RMG continue to circulate.

Following an exchange of correspondence with Stuart MacDonald, HR Director for Industrial Relations, change only negotiations were held with the business earlier this week from Monday 20th – Wednesday 22nd June under the spirit and intent/protections of the Pathway to Change and our other agreements.

The opening of the talks this week were made even more difficult by RMG taking Executive Action on the separate issue of pay.  The CWU negotiators opened the meeting by making it clear that there was no confidence or trust that management were genuine about the talks.  Whilst they gave assurances that they were, it was stressed that they would have to work hard to convince the negotiating team.

We immediately sought their commitment to the key and core protections of the Pathway to Change Agreement.  They responded by saying they were committed to the agreement but wanted to change those key/core protections regardless.  Whilst they were willing to discuss options, their bottom line had to be met.

Given the previous actions of RMG and the lack of any real desire to move away from their change demands, the negotiators were not convinced that that they would not break from the talks and potentially take Executive Action.

Therefore, on 22nd June, the Postal Executive endorsed the instigation of a further national DRP in line with Paragraph 3.2, Schedule 3 of the Legally Binding Agreement Agenda for Growth (as amended), on the business breaking and failing to adhere to the spirit and intent of the Pathway to Change Agreement in respect of the following; Mutually beneficial change, Universal Service Obligation, yearly flexi hours/flexi time bank and the use of technology to support it, two tier workforce, RMG policies/agreements, RMG wide terms and conditions, shorter working week flightpath, Sunday working, RMG productivity, maximising the potential of letters, significant changes to current dispatch, arrivals and out on delivery times for the joint delivery of letters and packets/parcels, pipeline/network changes with significant effect on duty structures and changes to the defined resourcing mix across Royal Mail Group including Parcelforce and Fleet. Failure to honour the existing agreements relating to the use of third party contractors in Parcelforce.

To be crystal clear, both RMG and the CWU have agreed that we are now in dispute over the Pathway to Change Agreement.  As a consequence, and whilst we enter those talks to reach an agreement, we have to prepare for another ballot regarding the above to protect our members’ interests if the talks fail and RMG take Executive Action.

A ballot regarding the above is totally separate from the pay dispute and opens on Tuesday 28th June 2022.

This will allow for a further four weeks of negotiation with the ability to extend that period if progress is being made.  It also allows us to commence a second ballot for industrial action in respect of their change demands and to protect us from Executive Action on change and enable an agreement to be secured, which protects our current and future members and this excellent public service in line with our agreements.

These DRP talks are set to start week commencing 27th June 2022 and ahead of the negotiations, Royal Mail Group have also provided confirmation of the following principles under which we will enter into the DRP.

  • Both parties agree that we are adjourning current talks in favour of focussing on the DRP on P2C.
  • For clarity neither party is walking away from talks and remain fully committed to seeking resolution.
  • During the 1-month process the CWU agree to taking no form of Industrial Action, whilst RMG understand we will be issuing a second IA ballot on Change during the 1-month process.
  • RMG agree to not taking any Executive Action during the 1-month period.
  • Both parties will ensure that the appropriate decision makers are engaged in the talks.
  • As with any discussions that form negotiations, nothing is agreed until it is all agreed.

I have also responded to state that the CWU agree with the principles above and also to confirm that the CWU will not call on its members to take strike action or industrial action short of a strike in relation to this P2C dispute, consistent with our Joint Commitment to the Procedures.

The negotiations and agenda will broadly follow the pattern from the agenda of the CWU Policy Document that was finalised following the recent Policy Forum in Liverpool on 30th and 31st March 2022.

The exception is that the separate issue of pay as an agenda item discussed at the Policy Forum will be replaced by the shorter working week because pay is clearly now a separate dispute.

It has also been agreed that there will be a balance of priority items from each side as the talks progress, i.e. we are not just there to discuss RMG’s proposals.

It should be remembered that Royal Mail Group are still intent on pursuing the change demands that they continue to highlight so the talks are likely to be extremely difficult.  Branches and representatives will however note that we will now commence our planning for a second ballot on defending the Pathway to Change Agreement in line with the appropriate legal advice.  This will involve the development of a detailed communications strategy in consultation with Chris Webb on this unique situation and in order to deliver the maximum possible ‘Yes’ vote.

Royal Mail Group continue to publicise their change demands, so it remains important that gate meetings continue to be held to highlight why these demands are totally unacceptable. We want to build towards a second massive ‘Yes’ vote in this separate ballot and will be meeting with the SDGS Department in order to agree a timetable for this ballot.

It is essential that the contents of this LTB are brought to the attention of our members as soon as possible to confirm that when that ballot opens on 28th June members are only voting on the dispute of an inadequate pay offer from RMG.

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)                  

22LTB281 – Royal Mail Group Change Demands Update         

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