Possible Help to Postal Members Dealing with the Cost of Living Crisis
Further to the National Briefing held at Congress House on Tuesday 11th October 2022, Branches and Representatives will be aware that the Postal Executive set out to compile guidance in order to assist Branches in helping to signpost members to what help may be available to assist with the cost of living crisis.
This LTB is designed to inform Branches and is not for display in the workplace as specifically designed posters for this purpose are attached and explained below.
Following research, the Postal Executive have produced documentation containing a list of useful resources that can be used by Branches. This data is designed to help our representatives in assisting members to gain access to suitable support.
We will be sending a second email separately for the designated branch contact to utilise when assisting members who contact them for assistance.
A brief explanation of some of the organisations are below;
There are a variety of organisations that may be able to offer help to members suffering from money issues. Amongst these are:
- org.uk (formerly the Money Advice Service). Money Helper is provided by HM Government and provides money guidance that is impartial and free to access.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau can also be useful in this regard. These organisations can also give guidance around dealing with debtors for example they can explain the process for applying for a mortgage repayment holiday where appropriate.
- Financial help can also be sought for postal workers and their dependants from the Rowland Hill Fund.
State benefits are not likely to be hugely helpful. This is due to the fact they generally only apply to those on very low incomes and because the law was changed in 2012, those in receipt of Universal Credit cannot receive benefits due to loss of income from strike action. Obviously, benefits are based on individual circumstances such as housing costs, dependants and disabilities, so members would therefore need to seek individual advice.
In relation to a council tax reduction, members would have to apply to their local council although this would depend on the rules of the council in question.
Members can investigate their eligibility for benefits by following the link below however the fact members are taking strike action means that the figures are indicative and not guaranteed.
Local councils also provide Discretionary Housing and Hardship Payments to those who are attempting to ‘improve their circumstances’. Each council has different processes for application so this would have to be explored locally. These payments are cash limited however and prioritised for the most vulnerable in society, so this is unlikely to apply to our members on strike.
Branches are encouraged to work with local Trades Councils and other supportive parties to raise funds to assist cases of hardship.
Under National Rule 4, 1.8, members are entitled to apply for assistance from the National Welfare Fund and/or, where such exists, local Welfare Fund. Members can go through their local Branch for help and support with this process.
There are two posters (Attachments 1 & 2) that should be displayed in all workplaces and branch details added. The posters give access points to support, one is via the Branch and as such we recommend that the Branch designate a suitable person who can assist members. The second access point is via QR codes. This is extremely important as it will enable our members who may be unwilling to divulge their financial problems to discretely access support and enable them to retain their privacy.
In closing, I hope that Branches and representatives will find this information of use.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal)