2022/2023 Dispute relating to International Distributions Services (previously Royal Mail Group) for all CWU represented grades in Royal Mail Group (including Parcelforce and Fleet). Pay, unagreed change, job security, disciplining CWU Reps, activists and members. Breaking and terminating various collective agreements and protections

2022/2023 Dispute relating to International Distributions Services (previously Royal Mail Group) for all CWU represented grades in Royal Mail Group (including Parcelforce and Fleet). Pay, unagreed change, job security, disciplining CWU Reps, activists and members. Breaking and terminating various collective agreements and protections

Please find atached a copy of the declaration of the result for the recent industrial action ballot of the above CWU members employed by Royal Mail Group.

The current legislation requires the union to provide all persons entitled to vote in the ballot and the relevant employers “as soon as is reasonably practicable” after holding of the ballot the following information:

  1. The number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot.
  2. The number of votes cast in the ballot.
  3. The number of individuals answering “Yes” to the question, or as the case may be, to each question.
  4. The number of individuals answering “No” to the question, or as the case may be, to each question.
  5. The number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned.
  6. Whether or not the number of votes cast in the ballot is at least 50% of the number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot.

Therefore, the ballot result meets the required threshold.

Accordingly you must now take immediate steps to publicise the result to all relevant members, however it is essential that any communications regarding the result must as a minimum contain the information as detailed at items a) to f) inclusively above.

Branches are also reminded that only the Industrial Executive Committee has the authority to instruct members to take industrial action.

Further information regarding the next steps of the dispute will be circulated by the DGS (Postal) in due course.

Any enquiries regarding this Letter to Branches 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 KearnsAndy FureyGeneral SecretarySenior Deputy General SecretaryActing Deputy General Secretary Postal            

23LTB040

T0403_1_CWU_ROYAL MAIL

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ROYAL MAIL GROUP DISPUTES – Claims for TU detriment & unlawful deductions

ROYAL MAIL GROUP DISPUTES – Claims for TU detriment & unlawful deductions

Further to LTBs 477/22 and 500/22, discussions have taken place with Acas concerning over 1000 claims that currently exist relating to Trade Union detriments and unlawful deduction of wages. Thank you for all the work that Branches have performed on these claims, which are a vital part of the fightback against RMG’s unacceptable treatment of CWU members.

The two main groups of claims relate to:

  • preventing CWU members from performing normal overtime in response to taking part in or organising industrial action; and
  • the unlawful deduction of sick pay.

RMG have indicated they are taking the following approach:

For sick pay – RMG solicitors Weightmans will now be entering into individual conciliation on cases through Acas.  It is possible some members will be offered money to settle their cases.  It is up to individual members if the amount on offer is sufficient, or if they wish to pursue further compensation, for example if bank charges have occurred as a result of the stoppage.  This means it is vital that all cases that Branches are aware of, relating to unlawful deductions of sick pay are quickly registered with Acas for early conciliation.  Acas have already begun to contact members and Branches with requests for further information and Branches may wish to enter into discussions.

In order to assist with the collection of further information on these cases, a new national web form has been set up at:

Members who have filled in the previous national claim form will be emailed to fill in a copy of this form.  This will then be shared with Branches to forward to Acas in order to assist with the conciliation process.

If Weightmans indicate that they are not willing to conciliate on a particular case, an early conciliation certificate will be issued by Acas.  This will also happen if the claim reaches the end of the six week Acas timeframe.  This means the clock will start ticking again for the Employment Tribunal, and the ET1 then needs to be submitted, especially in light of the 3-month minus 1-day deadline.  The fact the above form has been filled out should assist Branches greatly for the detail needed at Employment Tribunal.

We are extremely grateful for the Branches ongoing work in this area, which has already successfully delivered money back to our members that had been unlawfully deducted. The decision to stop sick pay for individuals at a time when they are at their most vulnerable is appalling; however, we are confident that further gains will be made for our members.

For overtime cases, RMG’s solicitor Weightmans have indicated that they will NOT be entering into individual conciliation on cases through Acas.  This means that early conciliation certificates will be issued and, once again, it is important that ET1 forms are completed prior to the 3-month deadline.  ET1A forms can also be used to group claims of this type where the circumstances are the same, (for example claims from the same workplace).  The draft grounds of complaint were circulated in LTB 383/22 and should be used on the ET1 or ET1A form.

  • Discussions have taken place with the CWU legal services department about grouping claims of this type together at Employment Tribunal and further advice will be circulated on how this will take place.

Acas have also requested that the following information is included on the early conciliation online form for each member to assist with the early conciliation of cases:

  • What the issue is;
  • Member’s Payroll number; and
  • Workplace location (i.e name and area of country).

Furthermore, a list of frequently asked questions about progressing claims at Acas and at employment tribunal is attached.

For any questions about this LTB please contact Postal Executive members Rob Wotherspoon rwotherspoon@cwu.org, Saf Khan skhan@cwu.org or Luke Elgar lelgar@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Furey
A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

Dave Ward
General Secretary 

LTB 038/23 – ROYAL MAIL GROUP DISPUTES – CLAIMS FOR TU DETRIMENT UNLAWFUL DEDUCTIONS

Att: FAQs

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POST OFFICE: PAY DISPUTE – JOINT STATEMENT

POST OFFICE: PAY DISPUTE – JOINT STATEMENT

Dave Ward, General Secretary and I met with Nick Read, CEO and Jane Davies, Group Chief People Officer last week and as a consequence both parties have now agreed to refresh our pay negotiations.  Clearly this is a positive development and we naturally hope that refreshed talks will lead to a settlement, which from our perspective should incorporate the 2023/24 pay review period.  The Joint Statement below has been published this afternoon:

Joint Statement – Post Office and CWU Pay Negotiations

 Following a productive meeting, we have agreed to refresh pay negotiations with the aim of arriving at a mutual solution for pay.

 Both parties feel that a new focus and momentum may be worthwhile and therefore we have committed to an initial meeting at the earliest opportunity.

We recognise that colleagues will be feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis which Post Office is not immune to.  However, we feel that some fresh thinking may present us with the opportunity to reach an agreement which both Post Office and CWU are keen to achieve.  In light of this news the ASOS within Supply Chain, DMB and Admin will be postponed pending talks.

Jane Davies
Group Chief People Officer
Post Office 

Andy Furey
A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal)   

Arising from the agreement for fresh talks, Branches will note, in the closing sentence of the Joint Statement is reference to postponing the Action Short of a Strike (ASOS).  We will be writing formally to Jane Davies to confirm this position.  Obviously if the fresh talks were to fail, it would be easy for the Postal Executive to re-ignite the ASOS if necessary.

Further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

LTB 037/23 Post Office: Pay Dispute – Joint Statement

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Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

Following LTB (Letter To Branches) 033/23, issued on the 8th February and which was further supplemented by LTB 034/23 issued on the same day, we have now received a formal reply from Royal Mail dated the 9th February and which confirms that:

 ‘Having completed the first stage of the review this week and considered a range of options, we have decided to maintain the current estate of Customer Service Points as we seek to further improve our first-time delivery rates.’

Whilst this confirmation from Royal Mail is welcomed and significant, given their previous position on CSPs (Customer Service Points) the union remains cautious as the company has further advised that: As footfall continues to decrease, it is important that we continue to improve the efficient running of our Customer Service Points. The next stage of this review will focus on ensuring that opening hours match demand, and ways of working. It is clear that as footfall continues to reduce, we will need to change ways of working in our Customer Service Points. This may require changes to staffing levels, and more flexibility from employees in terms of roles and responsibilities.’

As we have previously outlined, the CWU remains concerned and is opposed to the whole narrative that CSPs are just about the collecting of undelivered parcels, as important as that is. There are clear and numerous obligations upon Royal Mail as the DUSP (Designated Universal Service Provider) Condition 1 and the Communication Act which go beyond this single point. Moreover, we believe that CSPs should be seen as a real opportunity to both maximise and further expand additional commercial service offerings taking advantage of the unique interface that CSPs offer customers and the public.

In a further reply from the union today to Royal Mail, we have been quite clear that we are open to regular discussions with them surrounding these ongoing reviews of CSPs against changes in the customer footfall profile and the further planned national rollout of Automatic Redelivery on the basis of a genuine and two-way engagement. Indeed, it is relevant to point out that in both 2021 and last year we reached two agreed Joint Statements with Royal Mail on standardised and revised opening times based on changes in customer behaviours and a visible reduction in customers visiting CSPs.

Again, this development and confirmation from Royal Mail of a re-think on their imminent plans for CSPs is a welcomed development and has only come about as a result of direct pressure brought about by the CWU and its members. We also know that this outlined change in approach will come as a great relief to members that work in CSPs and, in particular, those with family-friendly needs, or who are covered under the Equality Act.

There clearly remain ongoing challenges that will need to be addressed in order to secure the long term future of CSPs and we remain committed and convinced that the national network of CSPs offers Royal Mail real opportunities to innovate, increase services and its revenue equally. In short, CSPs should be seen by Royal Mail as a growth opportunity, not a cost burden.

Further updates will be issued in due course and against further developments, but in the meantime any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 532, email address: njones@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch
CWU Assistant Secretary

Andy Furey
A / Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

LTB 036-23 CSP – Rationalisaton Plan and Automatic redelivery

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PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERY CWU MEMBER

🚨 PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERY CWU MEMBER🚨

We now have just 5 days left to vote in the National Ballot. This is the final weekend of the voting period.

This is a final message to ask you to be part of history. At around 4pm on Thursday 16th February we will know the ballot result.

Imagine if after 18 days of action, we could announce another huge result. Imagine the shockwaves that would send through the employer, shareholders and the media.

There is no fence to sit on in this dispute. We don’t need to explain the issues anymore. We don’t need to explain the risks anymore. You know.

We are asking every member to become the union in the next few days. Speak to colleagues, ask them to vote yes and ask them to be part of history.

We have not come this far to step back now. Thank you for your incredible support. One more push.

WeAreStillHere

Royal Mail Group: National Briefing – Friday 17th February

Royal Mail Group: National Briefing – Friday 17th February

A National Briefing will be held on Friday 17th February 2023 to provide Branches with an update in regard to our negotiations with Royal Mail Group and the next steps in the dispute.

The Briefing will commence at 10:00 and conclude no later than 14:00 at:

International Suite
Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel
Portland Street
Manchester
M1 4PH

Tea and coffee will be available from 09.30.

All Branches are requested to make this a priority engagement and attendance arrangements should be in accordance with normal protocols for National Briefings whilst ensuring the importance of our proportionality requirements.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department – fkelk@cwu.org or acorbett@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,      

Dave Ward
General Secretary

Andy Furey
A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

LTB 035/23

 

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MODEL LETTER – OPPOSING RMG PLANS TO CLOSE CUSTOMER SERVICE POINTS

MODEL LETTER – OPPOSING RMG PLANS TO CLOSE CUSTOMER SERVICE POINTS

As part of the ongoing dispute with Royal Mail Group, branches will be aware that Royal Mail are planning to close an overwhelming number of Customer Service Points (CSPs) at local delivery offices and some Mail Centres, as well as reducing opening times for those that remain.

It is also clear that CWU members who work in Customer Service Points are being unfairly pressured to take voluntary redundancy. This is particularly concerning as some of these members’ rights may be affected under the Equality Act.

The CWU remains opposed to these closures and the impact on the affected members. Therefore, as well as pursuing this in national negotiations (LTB 033/23), we are now calling on members of the public and politicians to speak out against these closures.

We have attached a model letter that can be sent to MPs to lobby them to campaign against these closures. These plans will affect every constituency and should be of concern to every Member of Parliament.

We are now asking branches to share these letters widely, not just among CWU members but in the wider community and on social media to build opposition to Royal Mail’s plans.

You can send this letter through the link below, just add your name and address.

If you have any queries, please contact jdunn@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Dave Ward                        
General Secretary

Andy Furey
Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

Mark Baulch
Assistant Secretary

LTB 034/22 – MODEL LETTER- OPPOSING RMG PLANS TO CLOSE CUSTOMER SERVICE POINTS IN DELIVERY AF

Att: Model Individual Letter Text

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Dog Bites Put 9,000 People a Year in Hospital. Why is the Law Toothless? – Sunday Times 5 February 2023:

Dog Bites Put 9,000 People a Year in Hospital. Why is the Law Toothless? – Sunday Times 5 February 2023:

Following 14 fatal dog attacks in 14 months and two recent deaths in the last month highlighting an alarming rise in dog attacks, the Sunday Times ran an almost full-page article on the issue last Sunday with a heavy focus on dog attacks on postal workers amongst a broad ranging look society’s unawareness or denial about the dangers and national crisis in the UK.

The article featured interviews with the CWU National Health and Safety Officer and postwoman dog attack victim Sarah King.

Some facts and statistics covered were:

  • The number of dogs has boomed since lockdown. There are about 13 million in the UK compared with 7.6 million in 2012.
  • Non-fatal injuries from dog attacks have also risen steadily in the past 20 years.
  • 9,000 people a year are admitted to hospital with severe dog bites — up from 7,500 in 2017.
  • The cost to the NHS is an estimated £71 million.
  • 60 people have died in dog attacks in the UK since 2000.
  • There are 2,500-3,000 dog bites to postmen and women a year.
  • In the past five years, 1,000 postmen and women have had fingers bitten off/amputated as a result of dog attacks through letterboxes.
  • In 2007 Paul Coleman, Sheffield postman and father of two, was mauled for 15 minutes by two pitbull cross dogs while delivering the mail. He was in intensive care for weeks and needed extensive skin grafts, surgery and counselling and almost lost his right arm. This attack and 6,500 dog attacks on postal workers that year triggered the CWU’s launch of the ‘Bite-Back’ campaign which 7 years later ended in a major victory for the CWU with major changes and extensions of the Dangerous Dogs Act.
  • The absence of mandatory ‘Third Party Liability Insurance’ for dog owners continues to be a major problem for injured victims who can only secure personal injury compensation if the dog owner is insured or has financial resources.

Extract

Dave Joyce said; “Dog attacks and dog control law and order is a national crisis in this country. It’s out of control. Every day I wake up and I think this is the day when I’m going to get that call to say that one of our members has been killed. I’m sick of the words of sympathy from police and politicians every time there is a dog attack death. It’s not enough. The victims are being denied justice. How much further is the government going to allow this to progress before something is done about it? When a dog bites one of our members we are too often faced with police forces who are reluctant to prosecute the owner. Perhaps due to the backlog of cases in the legal system, lack of police resources, other priorities etc. The police too often try to dispose of dog attack cases quickly and try to get the victim to drop the case and instead accept the police issuing a ‘police caution’ or a ‘community resolution order’, which are informal ways of dealing with what is actually a very serious offence. Enforcement of the law is woefully poor. The courts don’t hand down appropriate sentences. They don’t ban dog owners from owning dogs, they don’t issue compensation orders. It’s completely inconsistent.”

Read a copy of the full story attached.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 032/23 – Dog Bites Put 9000 People a Year in Hospital Why is the Law Toothless – Sunday Times 5 February 2023

Att: Why is the law toothless Sunday Times

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Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

Branches, Representatives, and members alike will recall that the Outdoor Department has issued a number of LTBs covering Royal Mail’s ongoing review of Customer Service Points (CSP) estate and opening times.  These have been supplemented via two ODMs (Outdoor Department Memos), 039/22 and 042/22, issued on the 12th and 21stDecember respectively, in order to update Branches and Representatives concerning ongoing developments on Royal Mail’s CSP plans and the further activity to introduce Automatic Redelivery, which is a separate initiative, but clearly linked to Royal Mail wider CSP rationalisation plans.

We have set out the union’s growing concerns around Royal Mail’s future plans for CSPs, and it was therefore not a surprise that this matter surfaced during our dispute and was included in Royal Mail’s ‘best and final offer’ presented to the union on 22ndNovember as part the recent ACAS talks.  To recap, Royal Mail set out the following wording for the CWU to sign up to on future of CSPs in their ‘best and final offer’:

3.3 – Customer Service Point Rationalisation

Due to a significant increase in first time delivery rates, the purpose and scale of Customer Service Point operation requires urgent review. The CWU commits to work with Royal Mail on this review consultation concluding end of December 2022 with implementation commencing Feb 2023.

Since then we have engaged in numerous correspondence with Royal Mail on its CSPs plan which also include the national rollout and launch of Automatic Redelivery. Most recently, we have sought to use the last few weeks of refreshed negotiations and correspondence to push Royal Mail to rethink and halt these plans. Sadly, Royal Mail has seemingly rejected the union’s call and in the most recent set of discussions, it set out revised plans to increase the number of CSPs to close and further limited the scope of services offered in those which will continue to remain open, but also added that it was still reviewing and considering its overall position:

The summary of what we believe Royal Mail’s current plans is: –

  • To cut the number of CSPs significantly, thereby only leaving a minority of units overall open, which although unconfirmed, we believe is an increase from the original number of closures outlined to us in November of last year. 
  • Those that remain open will be “repurposed” and will only be open for specific workload activity and customer services.
     
  • National rollout of Automatic Redelivery will take place during February.

Following our most recent meeting, we received a further letter from Royal Mail which highlighted what can only be described as a complete disregard for the real impact these plans will have on all CWU members that work in CSPs.

Subsequently, the union has written to Royal Mail further on the 3rd February to challenge these plans for CSPs, but also more importantly, to directly contest these, and their direct impact on members who perform CSP work and roles. We have also requested that specific information is received detailing those units which are planned to close, along with clear details on what this will mean in terms of those individuals which undertake this work, and the possible number of headcount reductions associated with their plans.

As outlined above it would now appear that Royal Mail is seeking to push through with its CSP closure plans which could impact up to some 2,400 of its employees, a number of which perform these roles as a result of ‘adjusted duty needs’ due to a disability via the Equality Act or family-friendly needs.  Where there is any suggestion by Royal Mail of options for redeployment to other roles or work, our view is it is simply not realistic given the overall numbers involved with Royal Mail’s overall “rightsizing” programme.

We are further aware that individual members who perform CSP roles are now being directly approached as part of Royal Mail’s closure plans at a local level, therefore, we are issuing the following initial advice to members:

In response to any request to meet and engage with your line manager/COM on the local changes to CSPs arrangements and your current duty patterns (and any individual protected characteristics), members should first request ‘written and advance’ confirmation from their manager on the specific nature of such a meeting and the relevant Royal Mail procedure and process under which the meeting is being held; and whether attendance is purely voluntary or otherwise. 

Secondly and once a reply is received from the relevant manager, the member should then advise that they are now seeking further CWU clarification and advice on this matter, and before they are able to attend. The advice is needed as Royal Mail has not confirmed directly with the CWU at a national level the relevant Royal Mail procedure and process it is applying in terms of what could amount to a redundancy situation or an enforced individual severance package.

If members choose to attend, or feel compelled to attend, and request CWU representation accordingly, our Reps should as per normal, accompany and support members as necessary, but on a ‘without prejudice’ basis due to the union’s wider position and in absence of the manager concerned formally confirming the nature of the meeting and under which Royal Mail procedure and process the meeting is taking place.

Members should not feel pressurised or compelled to make knee-jerk reactions or decisions in terms of these Royal Mail plans. However, and as outlined in LTB 454/22 ERRATA, issued on the 17th of Novemberentitled: Royal Mail Group: Unagreed Preference Exercise, we do need to confirm that:

It will always be the case that individual members are entitled to make their choice based on their own personal circumstances as to whether or not they are prepared to accept RMG’s redundancy terms.

The union fully understands the real anxiety and stress many members that work in CSP’s are now feeling in the face of what are unnecessary and belligerent actions by Royal Mail.  History has shown that the union has always been able via joint agreement and mitigation towards individual circumstances to deal with whole scale and difficult change. However, the current approach of Royal Mail on its CSP plans has been rarely seen and is based on what can only be described as an openly aggressive and inexcusable attitude towards its employees, again noting that many of our members who work in CSP’s have family-friendly needs, or are covered under the Equality Act.

The union’s focus has centred around what these plans will mean to members that perform CSP work. However, the union has also written direct to Ofcom, the Postal Regulator, via the General Secretary and Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal), to question these plans under the Royal Mail Group Licence conditions as well as a potential contravention of the DUSP (Designated Universal Service Provider) Condition 1 and the Communication Act, as it will remove the option for many customers to collect mail and access other postal services via CSPs. The initial reply from Ofcom to our initial representation on this matter was somewhat disappointing, but they did, however, extend an invitation to meet which the union is looking to pick up shortly.

We will issue further updates in due course and members should equally keep in direct touch with their relevant Representatives and Branches accordingly.

Any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 532, email address: njones@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch
CWU Assistant Secretary      

Andy Furey
A / Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

LTB 033-23 – Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

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