Disputes with Royal Mail Group – Centrally Driven Suspensions and Conduct Cases against CWU Representatives and Members
During the course of the disputes there has been an unprecedented and vicious attack on a number of CWU Representatives and members (including picket line supervisors) who have been suspended or are being taken through the conduct code.
The suspensions and conduct proceedings in the main relate to allegations regarding picket line activity and conversations with either agency workers crossing picket lines or in the workplace. To date, in excess of 120 individuals from both Royal Mail and Parcelforce have been suspended, five of whom have since been dismissed.
Following the Joint Statement to establish talks at ACAS and particularly the de-escalating of tensions in the workplace, there were limited examples where a common sense approach resulted in suspensions being lifted and conduct being withdrawn although this proved to be the exception.
Clearly there is a national pattern to these suspensions and conduct cases as most Divisions and Parcelforce Regions feature. There is robust evidence to suggest there is a coordinated drive by RMG on a national basis to target representatives and members for merely partaking in their legal right to strike and speak to agency workers. This is yet another aspect of the Union busting activity aimed at promoting intimidation where those on strike are being scrutinised constantly.
There may be a small minority of cases where suspension and the use of the conduct code could be applicable however in the vast majority of instances we are certain the allegations are scurrilous and fabricated. We have reports of standard letters and question sets being used in cases and the continued breach of procedures taking place in the conduct process for CWU representatives. Local managers are openly referring to the central conduct team as either the ‘Gold Room’ or ‘Gold Command Centre’.
There are cases being reported where local managers are being instructed to instigate conduct cases despite them being reluctant due to a lack of evidence. There are other cases of representatives and members being reinstated following suspension and the conduct then being reopened as a consequence of an intervention via a higher manager arising from a central directive.
The Postal Executive has endorsed the creation of a working group designed to provide a solid support structure for those representatives and members being targeted. Postal Executive members as follows will provide full backing and assistance to all of those going through this appalling experience:
- Katrina Quirke will be responsible for compiling the information for all PFW cases.
- Tony Bouch and Rob Wotherspoon will be responsible for the South Wales/South West, Midlands and South Central Divisions.
- Steve Halliwell and Bobby Weatherall will be responsible for the North Wales/North West, Scotland, Northern Ireland and North East Divisions.
- Shelley Banbury and Luke Elgar will be responsible for the South East, Anglia and London Division.
- Mick Kavanagh, Vice Chair of the Postal Executive will Chair the meetings of the working group.
Additionally, the attached correspondence has been sent to Zareena Brown, Chief People Officer to express our deep concern in regard to the continued suspensions and conduct code cases. We have also urged RMG to seriously consider our proposal for all cases involving the criteria of gross misconduct to be the subject of an immediate joint review undertaken by the appropriate regional managers and CWU Senior Field Officials.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal)
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