DEFERMENT OF GENERAL, RULES AND INDUSTRIAL CONFERENCES 2023

DEFERMENT OF GENERAL, RULES AND INDUSTRIAL CONFERENCES 2023

At an Emergency NEC meeting held today, Tuesday the 17th January 2023, the NEC have unanimously taken the decision to defer the above conferences until later in the year.

Conferences were due to take place Sunday 23rd to Thursday 27th April 2023as notified in LTB 326/2022, the conference will now take place Sunday 1stto Thursday 5th October 2023.  To be clear the Conference is being deferred and not cancelled.

There are a number of reasons for the NEC arriving at this decision.  As Branches will be aware the situation around our dispute with Royal Mail Group (RMG) is at a very crucial stage.  We have now served notice on RMG to ballot again on the issues in dispute, the ballot will open next Monday 23rd January.

At this point in time it is essential that our messaging is that everything (and we mean everything) that Postal Branches need to do to produce both a high turnout and yes vote in this ballot is essential. This means devoting every resource and every amount of possible time to achieving these aims.

Arising out of this ballot and the ongoing negotiations are two possible scenarios. Either we reach an agreement or we don’t.  If we don’t then at the time the conference is currently scheduled, we will be heavily involved in large scale and widespread industrial action that will be crucial to achieving a successful outcome to the dispute.

Should negotiations continue and we reach an agreement there will be a need for urgent consultation, meeting and general discussion with Branches around any potential outcome and the deployment of such. Again there is no timescale for this as there is currently no agreement, but either way Postal Branches will be required to concentrate all efforts on the ballot and the outcomes, whatever they may be.

In short, important as Annual Conference is, it is not and cannot be considered more important than what is in reality, a fight for our members’ futures in Royal Mail.

In addition to the position set out above there is the question of the closing date for motions to General, Rules and Postal Industrial Conference.  Respectively these are 9th, 2nd and 23rd February 2023.

For the NEC there is a linked issue. The closing dates set out above means that any motions and/or rule changes that the NEC needs to submit to conferences would need to go before the NEC scheduled for the 25th/26th January.  Given the involvement of the GS and other Senior Officers and Staff, as well as the PEC there is simply no time between now and then to discuss and present NEC motions and/or rule changes by that date.

Branches will be aware that there are a number of outstanding issues arising out of Redesign that the union needs to deal with in order to ensure we build a union fit for purpose in the future. This means developing a number of proposals around structures and subsequent discussions with Branches and Reps on these issues.

The same issue applies to the PEC, who would have to meet prior to the closing date to submit motions at a time when the industrial dispute with the employer remains unresolved and Officers and PE members are devoting all their time to dealing with this issue.

The deferring of Conference to later in the year allows us time to have the discussions required around those issues, consult widely within the union and place rule changes before conference 1st – 5thOctober. Clearly, with the ongoing dispute we are simply not in a position to do this and thus the deferment makes sense not just for the industrial reasons as set out above, but also for structural reasons regarding the future of the CWU.

The NEC understands that deferring these conferences may have some impact upon hotel bookings already made. However, the agreed new date for the Conference (01.10.23 – 05.10.23) is a time when Bournemouth hotels are operating out of season.  Most hotels should not have major issues with transferring bookings until the later date.  We will of course engage and discuss with any Branch that has difficulty in this area.

The NEC also understands that part of the focus of this debate is around industrial issues in the Postal constituency. The NEC are aware that there are a number of equally important issues being dealt with within the TFS constituency.  The TFSE are clear that, if required, a Policy Forum to discuss and debate matters with Branches will be utilised at the appropriate time.

The decision taken by the NEC is not taken lightly, however, as set out above, given both the industrial issues we face with a major employer, the demands on time and the need for the union to consider further restructuring issues the decision is taken in the best interests of the CWU both in the immediate and longer term.

Any enquiries regarding this LTB should be addressed to the Senior Deputy General Secretary’s Department on telephone number 020 8971 7237, or email address sdgs@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,Dave WardTony KearnsGeneral SecretarySenior Deputy General Secretary

23LTB016

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