Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSP) – Workplace Questionnaire
Branches will recall Letter to Branches (LTB 317/22) issued on the 22nd of Julysetting out a review by Royal Mail on Customer Service Points (CSP) estate and opening times, which followed an earlier review by the company on CSP arrangements held May of 2021.
Whilst these two former reviews had been covered by agreed National Statements and supporting documentation, it should be noted that these reviews took place against what was an increasingly poor state of industrial relations within Royal Mail. Nonetheless, the Postal Executive took the view that this was the right decision at the time, to have in place and to provide our Representatives with an agreed framework to engage with local management on these reviews, which ensured that any wider duty/individual member’s issues were dealt with via the relevant National Agreements, including safeguard individuals within units who are covered by the Equality Act.
Since then, the Outdoor Department has remained extremely aware that Royal Mail continues to review CSP arrangements driven by a narrative that has developed since the Covid Pandemic that any hours used in this area is wasted cost and a drain on the company’s finances.
Accordingly, we have been advised by Royal Mail that they are now due to undertake a further review of the future of CSPs in each Delivery unit, which is to take place within less than three months of the last set of CSPs changes.
Attached for the attention of Branches and Representatives is a Royal Mail document entitled: Customer Service Points (CSP) Review Questionnaire, which local management will now be asked to complete and submit. The questionnaire is seeking feedback in a number of general areas such as:
- Other (non-parcel collection) work – so PO Boxes, account drop off, Relay engineers etc.
- Current spend (hours) in the CSP and how it is resourced – duty, SA, OT
- Tech hardware – if we are able to roll out a SPS type solution everywhere, we need to make sure offices are set up for it
- CSP staff preferences – if there is a big change in CSPs, would they be looking for redeployment (and if so, are they fit & able to undertake delivery work) or would they be interested in VR (obviously not binding on either side – just an indication).
In response to this latest development, we have advised Royal Mail that we will not support this further review at national level, as we believe its only aim is to justify further reductions in CSP arrangements across deliveries. Equally, we have also expressed real concern at the questionnaires ‘CSP staff preference’ section, which will only serve to unnecessarily cause concerns with individual members who perform these duties and roles; in addition, this section simply reveals the real background aim of the overall questionnaire.
As such, we are advising Branches and Representatives not to get formally involved in this Customer Service Points (CSP) Review Questionnaire if approached by local management.
However, and in setting out this position for our Representatives, we are fully aware that individual members who perform CSP roles are also due to be directly approached as part of the questionnaire. Therefore, and in a further exchange of correspondences, Royal Mail has confirmed with the Outdoor Department that no pressure should be applied by any local managers to individuals to partake in the questionnaire and the ‘CSP staff preference’ section in particular, and that involvement sought is purely voluntary.
If members choose to be involved in this questionnaire and request CWU representation accordingly, our Reps should as per normal accompany and support the members as necessary, but on a ‘without prejudice’ basis due to the union’s wider position.
The CWU has consistently and will continue to challenge Royal Mail over their ongoing position of simply wanting to reduce CSP opening hours and reduce this service for customers. The union holds the view that instead of seeking to reduce CSPs access for customers, this should be seen as a real opportunity to grow and expand further commercial and service offerings, helping to both generate innovation along with income for the company.
We are also further concerned that the continued attempts by Royal Mail to reduce CSPs arrangements and opening hours will further erode the company’s ability to support those members who require adjusted duty arrangements and those covered under the Equality Act.
For a company that continues to bellyache about the need to innovate and grow new customer services, it has remained backward thinking on the value of Customer Services Points and has shown a clear absence of understanding of this important service to customers and the considerable revenue streams already linked to CSPs.
Sadly, this LTB sets out a further challenge for the union and our members on the future direction of Royal Mail and again highlights a simple lack on the part of the company to genuinely invest and seek to grow our industry.
Whilst we will keep Branches and Representatives advised of developments, any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 532, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CWU Assistant Secretary