Royal Mail Customer Service Points (CSP) – Review of Opening Times
The Outdoor Department has been in discussions with Royal Mail in regards to the above issue which has come about as a consequence of a review that the company has undertaken across the Customer Service Points (CSP) estate. This review by Royal Mail has concentrated on the footfall levels of customers using the CSP’s and the number of scanned transactions which have taken place during the period of Q4 (January-March) of this year.
Branches and Representatives may recall through previous documents and communications, including the last RM/CWU National Joint Communication To Update On The Customer Service Point (CSP) Opening Hours And Standardisation, issued on the 19th of May 2021, that we have had a long running issue with Royal Mail in terms of the provision and the type of services that the CSP’s offer and the Unions view that this facility could be better used and should be expanded to provide further commercial offerings. This in order to generate innovation along with income for the company, whilst also providing job security and improved terms & conditions for our members. However, the narrative which is seemingly coming from senior Royal Mail Managers is that they do not see the value of CSP’s overall and therefore regard any hourage used in this area as wasted cost and a drain on the company’s finances.
Representatives may also recall we have also consistently challenged Royal Mail over their continued position of wanting to reduce opening hours which was initially driven by the Covid Pandemic as a vehicle to reduce the service times. Accordingly, the discussions thus far have centred around Royal Mails data of reduced footfall and scanned transactions within CSP’s locations and the company’s desire to reduce opening times against the current reduced mail volumes and customers using the service offering. There has also been a push from the regulator (Ofcom) to standardise the opening times overall and to introduce different categories dependent on the size of the unit and the volume of transactions that take place.
There is nevertheless a clear element of realism for the reductions in customer footfall which is being driven through reduced parcel volumes due to the cost of living crisis and also the increases in FTD (First Time Delivery) rates due to changes in customer behaviours, which is primarily due to Inflight & Safeplace customer enhancements, which we have supported as these are standard customer services offered by other parcel competitors.
Against this background, we have now secured a National Statement covering this review of CSP’s opening times which is attached and self-explanatory.
In setting out this Joint Statement, it should be noted that Royal Mail’s initial position and proposal was to reduce the current weekly opening times significantly and across the board, including the closure of a substantial number of CSP’s on Sunday and removing the current late opening on Thursday.
Through discussion we have amended those proposals considerably as follows:
- From a total of 64 offices that Royal Mail had proposed would jump two categories from Category 1 to 3, it has now been agreed by Royal Mail that 17 of those will stay in category 2.
- Out of the 168 Sunday CSPs Royal Mail had originally planned for closure, based on a footfall formula of 10 or fewer items and customers per hour. Royal Mail has now accepted to adjust this to 7 items per hour. This has resulted in 88 Sunday CSPs out of the initial 168 now remaining open
To summarise, our negotiations and counter-proposals have reduced the wider impact of Royal Mail’s initial starting point markedly and have cut the potential hours reduction by some 19% (2546 hours total).
We have debated amongst ourselves internally within the Outdoor department and within the Postal Executive the merit of engaging with Royal Mail on this subject matter given the current climate and our Reps and Branches perception and views, as this is clearly not a good news story despite the improvement made via our talks.
We have concluded, however, that we are better placed with a National Joint Statement that provides our representatives with an agreed framework to engage with local management, which further ensures any wider duty/individual members issues resulting from the reviewed CSP’s opening times are dealt with via the MTSF agreement, in addition to the safeguards in place for individuals within units who are covered by the Equality Act.
Any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 532, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
CWU Assistant Secretary