POST OFFICE: COVID 19 – VULNERABLE PEOPLE POLICY

POST OFFICE: COVID 19 – VULNERABLE PEOPLE POLICY

I wish to update Branches regarding the Post Office’s early decision in conjunction with CWU and Unite that anyone self-isolating and/or shielding who were in the vulnerable category would be afforded up to 12 weeks full pay whilst off work. This approach was designated as “Special Paid Leave”. We obviously welcomed this policy decision which we believed was responsible and compassionate in the circumstances.

Recently we have been in discussions with the Post Office regarding what should happen to those members who continue to be unable to work following the expiry of the 12 weeks which comes to an end on 14th June.

To put this into context, the scope for these discussions included those:

  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
  • Clinically Vulnerable
  • Living with an Extremely Vulnerable person
  • Those stranded outside the UK following a holiday and unable to return backhomeI am pleased to report that the Post Office, CWU and Unite came to an agreement which was endorsed by the Postal Executive today that the Special Paid Leave provision would be extended until 30th June.This is a positive development which I am pleased has been made early as it will give peace of mind to a significant number of members that they will continue to be paid for the whole of June.The Post Office intends to convey this development to impacted employees via the Line Managers when they are making contact with them to see how they are doing in their weekly “duty of care” conversations.

In closing I wish to thank Lynn Simpson, PE member, who has engaged with Post Office management almost on a daily basis on this matter and other Covid-19 related issues.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

LTB 273-20 Post Office – Covid 19 – Vulnerable People Policy

RM/CWU Joint Statement – Phase 2 & 3 National Operational Requirements for the Covid-19 Doorstep Self-Test Kit Home Collection Service

RM/CWU Joint Statement – Phase 2 & 3 National Operational Requirements for the Covid-19 Doorstep Self-Test Kit Home Collection Service

Dear Colleagues,

Branches will be aware via previous LTB’s and communications in regards to the above service and that the initiative was originally set up using eCourier to exclusively perform this task. However, as volumes have increased, the Government have been responding to pressure from the media, and have been increasing the numbers of NHS & Key workers who can access this service, as well as others options such as test centres and pillar box posting services.

Accordingly, as the Home Collection service has expanded and the numbers of those individuals who have requested tests via this avenue has grown, there is the need to bring this fully ‘in- house’ and provide a Royal Mail Home Collection and return to the laboratory service. Following a short pilot in the TR area and subsequent Phase 1 rollout to c162 units, there is now the need to expand this to a further c248 units commencing on the 27th May, whilst also considering and reviewing a further Phase 3 rollout to extend to the remaining c130 units across the UK.

Therefore, we have updated the attached Joint Statement to take account of the further Phase 2 roll-out, the resolution of any further issues resulting from this increased service, whilst also detailing the continuation of National discussions for further Phase 3 rollout as above. This is providing that this service is expanded by Government and the numbers of those being tested grows and the quality of service for Home Collection service meets the required standards as this is a vital priority commitment.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to:

Delivery & Collections: Mark Baulch, Assistant Secretary, email: outdoorsecretary@cwu.org quoting reference: 600.

Or

Processing, Area & Distribution: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.org quoting reference: 014.14.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch 
Assistant Secretary 

Davie Robertson
Assistant Secretary

LTB – 271.20 – RM_CWU Joint Statement Phase 2 3 National Operational Requirements for the COVID-19 Doorstep Self-Test Kit Collection Service

RM_CWU Joint Statement Phase 2 3 National Operational Requirements for the COVID-19 Doorstep Self-Test Kit Collection Service

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Cleaning of Royal Mail Buildings

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Cleaning of Royal Mail Buildings

This LTB is to provide further information on the cleaning approach that is undertaken by Property Facilities Solutions (PFS) Ltd of Royal Mail buildings.

Early on in the COVID-19 outbreak, the Royal Mail Property Facilities Solutions Safety, Health & Environmental & Soft Services teams carefully reviewed the cleaning regime recommended by Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that the standards for cleaning in a non-healthcare setting meet or exceed this standard.  The standards issued by PHE are as follows:-

cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people

using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles

Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal. All surfaces that the symptomatic person has come into contact with must be cleaned and disinfected, including:

  • objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells

Use disposable cloths or paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings, following one of the options below:

  • use either a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1,000 parts per million available chlorine

or

  • a household detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm av.cl.). Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants

or

  • if an alternative disinfectant is used within the organisation, this should be checked and ensure that it is effective against enveloped viruses”

PFS Ltd. Cleaners are using disposable cloths and a virucidal chemical which has both disinfecting and cleaning properties. All high touchpoint areas in a building are cleaned at least once a day in a delivery office setting or up to three times a day for a larger, 24-hour site.  This exceeds the PHE standard of cleaning surfaces using warm soapy water and following up with a household disinfectant as described above and is more effective for eradicating the virus from surfaces.

Where a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is notified to the business, then a risk assessment is undertaken by Central Postal Control (CPC) and a choice of two additional cleans that can be instigated – these are termed “precautionary clean” and “intense clean”. The cleans will be triggered as follows:

Intense cleans – symptomatic individual(s) has been on site within the last 2 days

Precautionary – symptomatic individual(s) has been on site between 3-5 days.

These cleans will be instigated by CPC through the Property Helpdesk.

A precautionary clean is where the building will receive a targeted clean in addition to the “Business as usual” clean. The cleaning team will discuss where the individual has been and the areas that that need to be cleaned with the person in control, using the virucidal cleaning chemical described above. Cleaners will wear disposable aprons or overalls and disposable gloves, which will be disposed of safely following the clean.  This approach is in line with the PHE recommendations.

An intense clean is where a specialised, targeted clean will take place.  The Cleaning team will attend site and discuss the areas where the affected individual has worked or spent time with the unit manager, ensuring that all areas are fully disinfected.  Cleaners will be wearing a higher level of PPE for this clean (gloves, face shield and disposable overalls) which will be disposed of safely following the clean.  As with the other types of clean, the virucidal cleaner described above will be used, and then an additional application of a diluted bleach solution will be added to provide an additional layer of protection.

It is important to note that this approach has been reviewed against guidance issued by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Public Health England (PHE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is confirmed as meeting or exceeding these requirements.

Any enquiries relating to this LTB should be directed to Ray Ellis (rellis@cwu.org).

Yours sincerely

Ray Ellis
Acting National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

20LTB272 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cleaning of Royal Mail Buildings

1. Positive Case Flow Chart v6

2. Positive Case Guidance v1.7

POST OFFICE: THE GREAT POST OFFICE TRIAL – RADIO 4 SHOW

POST OFFICE: THE GREAT POST OFFICE TRIAL – RADIO 4 SHOW

Branches are advised on Monday at 13.45, a ten part series called The Great Post Office Trial begins on Radio 4.

The series covers the extraordinary story of a decade-long battle with the Post Office, fought by hundreds of Postmasters. The trial is considered to be one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in UK legal history as Postmasters were wrongly blamed, dismissed and in some cases convicted for accounting shortfalls with some ending up in prison.

The series will go out at the same time for ten consecutive days (weekends excluded) with an omnibus edition going out on Radio 4 at 9pm on Friday 29th May and Friday 5th June. The ten shows are entitled as follows:

The Imaginary Heist

War of Attrition

The Bloodiest Mind in Wales

A Call for Help

I Love My Post Office

The Big Green Button

Navigating the Matrix

Extremely Aggressive Litigation

Follow the Money

What the Hell Had Happened.

Post Office executive who tried to mislead judge in Horizon case trial leaves by back door 

The above is the title of a Computer Weekly article published earlier this week which can be accessed via the link below.

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252483344/Post-Office-executive-who-tried-to-mislead-judge-in-Horizon-trial-leaves-via-back-door?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_great_post_office_trial_begins_on_monday&utm_term=2020-05-22

Computer Weekly has reported that Angela van den Bogerd, a senior Post Office Executive at the centre of this scandal, who was blamed by many of the Postmasters for

the Post Office failings has left the organisation without fanfare despite many years’ service. She was the most senior Post Office executive who gave evidence and was cross-examined in court during the litigation action.

In the Computer Weekly article, it was highlighted that when High Court judge Peter Fraser handed down his judgment in the court action, he was highly critical of van den Bogerd accusing her of seeking to “obfuscate matters and mislead me…”. 

Karl Flinders, the Computer Weekly journalist, goes on to say that whilst the Post Office state that “Angela van den Bogerd has left the Post Office to explore other opportunities”, it is thought “her position became untenable after her role in the Horizon scandal”.

Branches and Representatives are encouraged to listen to the Radio 4 shows and to draw these to the attention of our members.

Hopefully this radio coverage will help to bring about the public inquiry promised by the Prime Minister.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

20LTB270 Post Office – The Great Post Office Trial – Radio 4 Show

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

I would like to advise Branches that the inaugural newsletter from the Post Office Pension Plan (the Defined Contribution pension plan with Scottish Widows) Governance Committee will be received by our Post Office members in the coming days. The newsletter is attached for your information.

Although it is not required by law, the Pensions Regulator recommends that every pension plan has a Governance Committee in place. The Post Office Pension Plan Governance Committee has contracted Aon to facilitate as an independent advisor to organise and run the meetings. The Committee is made up of the following:

• Senior Post Office Management, including Lisa Cherry, HR Director, Lee Kelly, Employee Relations and Policy Director, and Maxine Cross, Head of Reward and Pensions

• Two Unite Reps

• One Representative from the Senior Managers group

• Andy Furey, National Officer, Mole Meade, PE Member and Lorna Pearson, Policy Advisor.

The Aon pensions expert is responsible for ensuring the meetings take place four times per year and that they are run smoothly and efficiently with an appropriate agenda. Additionally, the account manager from Scottish Widows has a slot at the meetings and in addition to running through the current performance of the scheme, he takes questions from the Committee and provides responses either at the meeting or as a follow up in writing.

After a slow start due mainly to the high churn of Post Office management on the group, the meetings of the Governance Committee are now a worthwhile and effective activity; hence the work to bring about our first Governance Committee newsletter which has been drawn up together with input from all parties.

The newsletter provides an introduction to the Governance Committee and our responsibilities, as well as an update on various matters relating to members’ pensions. This is the first of what we plan to be periodic updates sent to members via email.

A web article on the Governance Committee has been published on the CWU website and can be accessed via the following link:

Representatives are urged to bring this LTB and the attached newsletter to the attention of our Post Office members.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey 

Assistant Secretary

20LTB269 Post Office – Pension Plan Governance Committee – Newsletter

Attachment 1 to 20LTB269

CORONAVIRUS GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MEASURES 21 MAY 2020

CORONAVIRUS GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE MEASURES 21 MAY 2020

Please see attached an update of the government assistance measures document to reflect the recent guidance on holiday entitlement and pay, for your information.

Any general queries should be addressed to gsoffice@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward

General Secretary

20TLB268 – Coronavirus Government Assistance Measures 21 May 2020

COVID – 19 Government Assistance Measures Work, Housing, Welfare and Childcare

CWU REDESIGN PROJECT – ASSET REVIEW

CWU REDESIGN PROJECT – ASSET REVIEW

LTB 210/20 dated 17th April 2020 provided branches with a report and update on the CWU Redesign Project and in particular the Asset Review.  In that LTB we reported that the CWSU NEC had unanimously endorsed a position to accept an offer in respect of Alvescot Lodge.  That offer was for the full asking price of £1.75 million and we reported that the buyer wanted to move extremely quickly to complete the purchase by the 15th May 2020.

The purpose of this LTB is to inform branches that the full sale of Alvescot Lodge was completed and contracts exchange as well as funds received by the CWU by close of business on Friday the 15th May.  Accordingly the sale of Alvescot Lodge has been completed.

Once again we would like to take the opportunity place on record our thanks to all our staff who have provided a great service at Alvescot Lodge over many years and for the dignified way they have conducted themselves during this very difficult time.  We continue to work with them on their own HR related issues.

This now completes the actions required around this particular part of the CWU Asset Review.  Further updates on the other aspects of the Asset Review will be published as and when developments occur.

Any enquiries on the contents of this LTB should be addressed to the SDGS Department at sdgs@cwu.org.

Dave Ward – General Secretary

Tony Kearns – Senior Deputy General Secretary

20LTB267

COMMUNICATIONS WORKSHOPS – TUESDAY 26th MAY – 4pm

COMMUNICATIONS WORKSHOPS – TUESDAY 26th MAY – 4pm

Colleagues,

Further to LTB 249/20 I am writing to confirm that on Tuesday 26th May at 4pm we will hold our first in series of Communications Workshops.

As advertised the first one is on hosting video calls and livestreaming. During this session we will run through the basics of going live – platforms, equipment, subject matter etc but for those who want to take things to the next level, we will hear from Gary McQuiggin who is the Head of Video at Novara Media.

Gary is one of the leading experts in using streaming platforms, producing innovative content and engaging audiences.

The session is open to any CWU reps who have an interest in this area of work and we would encourage as many branches as possible to join us.

The Webinar will be held on Zoom and you can join us via the link and password below. Please do not share these details on social media.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85920716837?pwd=MVRISG9nV3Nhcml3cG13QUJXZlgrQT09

Password: 515206
We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Kind regards,

Chris Webb
Head of Communications, Engagement and Media

LTB 266/20

HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

HSENI has confirmed that the total number of complaints received between 16 March 2020 and 4 May 2020 relating to individual companies was 481.

The total number of complaints received also include some multiple complaints against particular companies. However, each complaint is investigated on an individual basis. Inspectors will also take note of the number of complaints logged against a company and the common areas of concern raised.

Up to the start of May all COVID-19 complaints were dealt with remotely.  While HSENI was still conducting site visits, these were restricted to functions such as the investigation of fatalities.  COVID-19 complaints were dealt with through a variety of means, not solely telephone or email.  Some of these complaints required clarification of the public health guidance and others required changes in work practices to comply with the guidelines. HSENI report that the volume of complaints received by HSENI, although not just as high as they were, is still high and remains constant.

The roll-out of strategic COVID-19 visits began on Monday 4 May 2020. These visits are initially being targeted at premises where there have previously been repeated complaints, including within the food processing sector.  Part of the purpose of the visits it to determine that the early measures introduced by companies remain in compliance with public health guidelines.  These are unannounced visits.

Seven inspections were completed last week and this week, 29 inspections have been completed to date (13.5.20 at 1pm) and a further 7 visits have been planned before the end of the week. HSENI currently employs 110 people and qualified inspectors make up 37% of the staff. HSENI currently has 28 inspectors who are able to deploy in the field.

Others who are not able to deploy in the field continue to respond to complaints remotely. On 30 March 2020 HSENI reported that it had received a 900% increase in complaints and a very high volume of requests for information and advice. The majority of this unprecedented volume of calls were about ‘COVID-19’ and ‘social distancing’ in the workplace. Local councils had also received a large number of requests for assistance to protect workers’ health and safety.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

20LTB265 HSENI (Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland) Release Covid-19 Complaint Stats

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