Mandatory wearing of face masks from Monday 25th January.

Mandatory wearing of face masks from Monday 25th January.

Hi Colleagues,

As Divisional Reps we have been inundated with calls from Area Reps regards the position too wearing of Face Masks. Frankly, we still cannot understand that almost 10 months we are still debating with our members regards this issue.
I am absolutely aware that our Members within the CWU understand that COVID-19 is a Deadly Viris, and the need not only to protect themselves but their work colleagues and families.
Therefore, it is vitally important that the Divisional Reps ask our members within the Division to the wearing of Face Masks while working within RM Premises. We understand that members from Monday 25th January staff may be asked to wear (indeed rm will be distributing f/masks 5 in pack) Face Masks, with the only exemption being Medical Reasons.
I have also attached a copy of a letter from Union-line (we would like to thank George Ross for forwarding this document) outlining the potential action RM could take. If members persist not wearing Face Masks without medical/legitimate reasons, which may be asked by the manager, they could leave themselves open to disciplinary process, as well as potential breach of H & S Guidance.

This definitely is not the position we want our members to face during these Unprecedented Times we are all facing. Can all Branch Sec’s/Area Reps please forward the attachment to all Functional/Unit Reps.?


Kenny, Tam, Rab.

CWU HQ Wimbledon
Your Reference:
Our Reference: 545640.1/ET/
21st January 2021
Dear Ms

RE: Your request for advice

I am writing to confirm my advice regarding face mask exemptions in the workplace, and what an employer may be able to do as a result of these exemptions. My advice is outlined below.

In settings where face coverings are required in England there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. The government guidance actively encourages employers to be mindful and respectful of individual circumstances, as reasons for not wearing a mask may not always be visible.

Exemptions for wearing a mask include (but are not limited to):

  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others, including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity
  • if you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering.

The government website and guidance is clear in stating that people do not need to routinely show written evidence or an exemption card for this, meaning GP letters are not required. Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law. The government does not provide these, but the government website has a downloadable exemption card template.

Employers should assess each employee on a case-by-case basis, depending on their type of work, any exemptions or mitigating circumstances.

The Regulations applicable to England and Scotland state that this includes where someone is prevented from wearing a face covering by a physical or mental illness or disability, or because wearing one would cause them severe distress. The definitions in the Regulations applicable to Northern Ireland and Wales are the same as those for England and Scotland, except that the Northern Ireland Regulations do not mention physical or mental illness, and those for Wales do not mention severe distress.

If an employee working in an environment where face coverings are required refuses to wear one, the employer should ask them for the reason. If the employee does not have a legitimate reason for not wearing a face covering, a failure to wear one is likely to be a refusal to follow the employer’s reasonable instruction and therefore grounds for beginning a disciplinary process, as well as a potential breach of current health and safety guidance.

Where an employee has a legitimate reason for not wearing a face covering, and is exempt, the employer should consider whether reasonable adjustments are possible in the workplace to allow the employee to work without having to wear a mask, e.g. if they can keep more than 2m distance from other employees or customers.

As above, government guidance states that people are not required to provide medical evidence or a GP letter in these circumstances. This does not mean, however, that it would be unlawful or unreasonable for the employer to ask for such information and evidence. Much in the same way as any other disability or medical issue is handled in an employment context, medical evidence may be required to allow the employer to look into reasonable adjustments. If the employer also has reasonable grounds for thinking that the employee is falsely claiming an exemption, then they will generally be justified in asking for evidence.

If the employer already has information through HR or the individual’s personnel file which shows their disability or a reason why they may be exempt, e.g. PTSD resulting in a fear of the face being touched or covered, then no further evidence would logically be required as it already exists. If the employer has no prior record of any medical issues for that individual employee, it may be reasonable to ask for evidence of this. This will be especially true as the employer will be able to argue that they are simply attempting to comply with the legal mandate for face coverings, and general health and safety concerns.

I hope this advice is helpful to you, and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely

Emily Turner
UNIONLINE is a trading name of Trade Union Legal LLP
Registered Office: PM House, 250 Shepcote Lane, Sheffield, S9 1TP, Company Registration OC388189
Registered as a Limited Company in England and Wales
UNIONLINE is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 608309

Change In Tyre Legislation For Vehicles Over 3.5 Tonnes

Change In Tyre Legislation For Vehicles Over 3.5 Tonnes

Branches will recall Motion 17 to General Conference 2018 submitted in the name of the Mersey Branch on the Tyred Campaign (Appendix A), which highlighted a tragic accident involving a 52 seat coach on the A3 in Surrey. A tyre expert confirmed that the accident was due to a blow out of the front nearside tyre that made the coach veer to the left and mount the embankment resulting in the fatalities of the driver and two passengers and leaving others with life threatening injuries. It was subsequently discovered that the tyre involved was actually older than the 19 year old coach.

In moving Motion 17 the speaker referred to the Tyred Campaign, which sought to introduce legislation that prevented the use of tyres that were old and thereby dangerous to the passengers as well as other road users. During debate we also heard that recommendations from manufacturers had previously advised the Government that tyres which are 6 years or older should not be fitted on cars and should be replaced if found to be over 10 years old. Unfortunately for the passengers of that coach the recommendations were never a legal requirement.

As a result of the Tyred Campaign, Government have since introduced new legislation which comes into effect from the 1st February 2021 banning the use of tyres over 10 years old that are fitted to steer axles on all vehicles above 3.5 tonnes, including all axles on minibuses when fitted in single configuration (9 to 16 seat minibuses).

The ban follows an extensive investigation including research commissioned by the Department of Transport which indicates that ageing tyres suffer corrosion which could cause them to fail. Drivers, owners and operators are responsible for the safety of their vehicles. The Government will also be asking the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to continue checking tyre age as part of their routine roadside enforcement activities and adding an additional assessment to the annual test scheme (MOT test).

Effectively, any vehicle above 3.5t that has tyres fitted which are found to be 10 years or older in England, Scotland or Wales stopped at roadside will lead to MOT failure and receive an immediate S marked prohibition notice. This is given when the examiner believes a severe defect is due to significant breakdown in the vehicle’s maintenance procedures.

Much of this will of course be resolved by the Fleet workshop staff across the in-house garage network through the issue of a Red Technical Service Bulletin (Safety Instruction). Members should however be mindful of the high reliance of Fleet on the use of contractors for HGV’s and trailers, so it is prudent to ensure that all members are aware of the change in legislation.

With regard to the Drivers responsibility there is of course a requirement to complete a roadworthiness or pre-use check. If a Driver is stopped as part of the roadside enforcement activities and the vehicle is in breach of the new legislation, the DVSA will issue an immediate prohibition notice and follow this up with a request to RMG to present their process which ensures the adequate management of their tyres.

The requirement to inspect age data on tyres will clearly become a driver responsibility which would need to be factored into the Vehicle Checks process. Both departments will of course ensure that RM agree to immediate activity that provides for sufficient times and processes to be put in place to ensure for adequate completion of these new checks on the relevant vehicles involved. All drivers (OMVs and personal vehicles) should ensure they understand this new legislation and familiarise themselves on how to identify the age of each tyre fitted to their OMV or indeed their own personal vehicle.

The information required can be located on the sidewall alongside the letters DOT which is then followed by a number code:

• These four numbers denote the fabrication date of the tyre to the nearest week with the first pair of these four numbers indentifying the date of manufacture down to the nearest WEEK ranging from 01 to 53.
• The last pair of numbers specifies the YEAR of manufacture.
• So for example a tyre with XXXXXXX2714 after the DOT lettering has a manufacture date in the 27th week of 2014.

Legislation will only affect those vehicles mentioned above but both departments feel it important for Drivers to be made aware of these changes and remain vigilant to the markings as indicated on the sidewalls of tyres.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to the relevant department:
Network & Distribution: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.orgquoting reference: 014.01
Deliveries & Collections: Mark Baulch, email: quoting reference: 300
Fleet: Carl Maden, email khay@cwu.orgquoting reference: 220

Yours sincerely,

Davie Robertson 
Assistant Secretary

Mark Baulch
Assistant Secretary

Carl Maden
Assistant Secretary (Acting)

LTB 022/21 – Change In Tyre Legislation For Vehicles Over 3.5 Tonnes

Appendix A
On Monday 10 September 2012 a coach bound for Liverpool carrying 53 people from the Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight, left the road and crashed into a tree instantly killing Michael Molloy (18), Kerry Ogden (23) and the coach driver, Colin Daulby (63), and left others with life changing injuries. The inquest into the crash found that the front nearside tyre which was actually older than the coach itself, at 19 years, was responsible for the crash. In 2014, Liverpool City Council unanimously agreed a motion in support of Michael’s mother Frances, calling for a change in the law requiring a ban on tyres older than six years on commercial vehicles. Despite the wide spread public and political support for this campaign, no change in the law has been made, shamefully leaving others at risk from faulty and dangerous tyres. Conference notes that Frances Molloy has launched “Tyred” – the official campaign to pressure Government – to change the law to ban the use of tyres older than ten years on commercial vehicles. Conference wholeheartedly supports “Tyred” and instructs the NEC to write to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to call together cross-party support for a change in the law. Conference further instructs the NEC to support the “Tyred” campaign until such a change in the law is achieved.


Royal Mail Group People App – Update

Royal Mail Group People App – Update

Further to LTB 532/20 circulated on 10thNovember 2020, it is necessary to make Branches aware of some developments that have occurred in relation to the pilot site activity for the Royal Mail Group voluntary ‘People App’.

Pilot activity was initially scheduled to commence between the middle and end of November 2020, however on 19th November the Business informed the DGS(P) Department that there would be a slight delay in getting the App into the Google and Apple Store by 30th November 2020. They therefore made the decision to push the start of the pilot activity back until after Christmas, with a planned launch date of 11th January 2021. They went on to state that:

“Even though the app won’t be available on the app stores, it will be ready to use via a URL link which you can use on a browser. We are going to ask our small beta group to start to use this on 30th November. After Christmas we will then be able to expand to the pilot sites.”

The Postal Executive were notified of this development, as were the lead Field Officials who had participated in an earlier conference call.

However, on 16th December 2020 an e-mail was received from management stating that:

“As of yesterday, we’ve been able to publish the app in the app stores and let our small group of users know about it. It appears that word of mouth has spread further afield then our original small group.”

Following feedback received from the Field, it became apparent that access to the People App was widespread and that the App had been shared extensively on social media by our members and indeed a number of CWU Representatives.

On behalf of the DGS(P) Department, Postal Executive member Katrina Quirke wrote to the Business on 17th December 2020 to raise concerns about the widespread access and to request that the App was either removed from the App stores or that the access was limited to those in the pilot sites. A response was received later that evening from management stating that they were unwilling to do this.

On 5th January 2021, Postal Executive members Katrina Quirke and David Wilshire attended a subsequent conference call with management in order to allow for further discussions. A set of slides were presented by management and these are attached for the information of Branches (see Attachment 1). These were also used in a presentation by the Business to the Lead Field Officials earlier today.

Branches will note that circa 30,000 people have already downloaded this voluntary App and at least one person has completed the download in 1576 units (although numbers are significantly higher in some workplaces).

Clearly the number of downloads now far exceeds the original target of 5,000 users from the original pilot locations. As a result, the Business now sees no value in limiting the App to just these original pilot workplaces and will be writing to these sites to inform them of this decision.

It may well be perceived that the Business acted disingenuously in this manner prior to Christmas, especially at a time when both parties were meant to be rebuilding trust. However, whilst the Postal Executive have taken a somewhat neutral position in relation to the People App, it is recognised that it would be unwise to discontinue our involvement and discussions regarding its ongoing development.

As a result, the approach of using Postal Executive member Katrina Quirke as the Lead will continue, thus ensuring that the Postal Department has an avenue to raise issues of concern, guarantee that there is no impact upon our collective agreements, protect the rights of individuals, be in a position to assess feedback from surveys and have ongoing input. The Business have indeed confirmed that:

  • Regular catch ups and updates would work best, allowing for feedback to be shared and enabling Katrina to highlight any concerns regarding existing National and Local agreements, if necessary (further arrangements will be discussed with Katrina);
  • They do not plan to implement any large scale changes to the App based on feedback received at this stage, but will continue to discuss the results and ideas they receive from the survey;
  • The attached slides can be shared;
  • The App will also operate in different languages, depending upon the language that the device is set up to use.

Further meetings are being arranged with the Business and future updates will be provided as and when new developments occur. Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Pullinger

Deputy General Secretary (Postal) 

LTB 017/21 – Royal Mail Group People App Update

LTB 017/21 – Attachment 1

Retained Parcel Sort Centres

Retained Parcel Sort Centres

The department has received a number of enquiries seeking clarity around the plan by the business to continue operating a number of the Seasonal Parcel Sort Centres outside of the peak period. Discussions have therefore taken place with the business to clarify the plan and ensure that the RM core network is fully utilised at all times prior to the movement of any workload, in line with the commitments in current agreements including the proposed Pathway to Change agreement currently out to ballot.

Branches will be aware during Peak 2020 that Royal Mail opened 10 Seasonal Parcel Sort Centres to accommodate the unprecedented parcel volumes and demand in the core network. This was in response to the ongoing Covid crisis, its effect on the density of online shopping and the reduction in capacity in the core Mail Centre/RDC network, due to social distancing and Covid-19 mitigation arrangements.

Due to the implementation of the heightened Covid-19 lockdown arrangements across the UK following the Christmas/New Year period, Royal Mail’s commercial forecast predicted continued high volumes. In addition to reduce the level of risk to Royal Mail employees, social distancing arrangements are likely to remain in force for some time to come.

Given this the business have taken the decision to retain a reduced number of Parcel Sort Centres over the coming weeks. The requirement for the additional capacity will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be stood down as and when the volume can be safely accommodated within the core network.

Royal Mail’s current plan is to continue to operate the Parcel Sort Centres at Milton Keynes, Atherstone and Northampton to support the operation. Operations at Sheffield will cease and the operation at Tetris will be managed out over the coming days.

Clearly the extended use of the PSC’s incurs additional costs. Discussions with Royal Mail have confirmed the intention is to only use the PSC’s where traffic volume exceed the capacity within

the core network. The three sites will therefore not have designated workload and will only handle surplus workload which cannot be safely processed within the Mail Centre/RDC estate.

Any anticipated requirement to divert workload to the Parcel Sort Centres should be a standard agenda item at Weekly Resourcing Meetings at all plants, with the joint aspiration being to maximise the utilisation of the core network.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: quoting reference: 014.14

Yours sincerely,

Davie Robertson

Assistant Secretary

LTB 020/21



Branches are advised that we have reached an agreement with the Post Office for bonus payments for Travel and Mails Product Specialists for the October-December quarter. The agreement provides for a maximum possible £250 bonus for both the Mails Product Specialists and the Travel Product Specialists. As per the arrangements for the previous Quarter (Q2), these payments have been agreed despite the absence of targets as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following Joint Statement has been published:

Joint Statement

Product Specialist (PS): Quarter 3 Bonus Payment

The Coronavirus pandemic has continued to challenge our ability to set meaningful targets. We hopefully will have an update soon, but in the interim period, we need to continue a similar approach to payments as has been the case earlier in the year.

Following a review of our position after Quarter 3 (the period between October and December), the following payments will be made in January salaries:

• Travel Product Specialists – £250
• Express Mails Specialists – £250

We think this approach is fair and reflects your efforts throughout our busiest trading period.

As we’ve mentioned before, we are still planning to set targets for quarters 1,2 and 3 retrospectively and this may mean some PS will be entitled to top-up bonus payments should their overall performance have warranted higher bonus than paid for quarters 1 and 2. Also, potentially some payments made may have been too high, and therefore future quarterly payments could be reduced accordingly.

We will continue to keep this under review as we progress throughout the final quarter of the year and further discussions will take place between us to jointly review targets and ongoing performance.

Thank you again for your on-going hard work during these difficult times.

Steve Blampied                                                                                             Andy Furey
Head of Directly Managed & WHS branch network                                  Assistant Secretary
Post Office                                                                                                    CWU

I’m sure our Product Specialist members, who are doing their very best in these challenging circumstances, will welcome the Q3 payments.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey
Assistant Secretary

LTB 019/21 – Post Office – Product Specialist Bonus Scheme – Quarter 3 Payment

LGBT+ History Month : Understanding, Identity & Awareness / IDAHOBIT Course

LGBT+ History Month : Understanding, Identity & Awareness / IDAHOBIT Course

As part of our preparations for LGBT+ History Month which runs throughout February, the Eastern Region has organised a special webinar which is open for the whole of the CWU to enjoy. This is taking place on Thursday 18th February at 6.30pm live on the Eastern Region Facebook page.

The aim of the event will be to shine a light on the different identities within the LGBT+ spectrum and the region has a number of its own activists who will feature sharing their own experiences as members of the LGBT+ community.

A flyer is attached which provides more information on registration. Any queries in relation to the webinar should be sent to Paul Moffatt, Regional Secretary

In addition to the above as part of the LGBT+ History Month we can confirm that the department has organised an IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia Bi & Transphobia) course that will be held on 23-24 February 2021. This is an excellent course and is open to all CWU members and representatives.

Anyone wishing to register for the course should in the first instance contact their Branch Secretary and email – please note this course does not attract paid release.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Hudson                                                                            

Head of Equality, Education & Development                                

LTB 018/21 – LGBT+ History Month Understanding Identity & Awareness IDAHOBIT Course

Attachment – LGBT Event – Eastern Region – Flyer

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Royal Mail Group – Latest Updated Coronavirus/Covid-19 – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Guidance Document (Version 78)

Royal Mail Group – Latest Updated Coronavirus/Covid-19 – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Guidance Document (Version 78)

I attach for your information Version 78 of the Royal Mail Group, Managers’ Coronavirus/Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Guidance document, issued by the business on 11 January 2021.

At the commencement of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak, Royal Mail Group established a ‘Business Pandemic Team’ which includes all national heads of department and this team meets regularly to review the situation across Royal Mail Group and to issue update Questions and Answers information communications to all managers, which is cascaded throughout the business.

The Coronavirus Guidance, version 78 Q&A document has been shared with the Union’s Health, Safety & Environment Department and is hereby circulated for information and reference purposes for CWU Regions, Health and Safety Reps, Branch and Divisional IR Reps.

The Q&A documents are circulated to all RMG managers and are also available to access through a link on the Royal Mail Group ‘Intranet’, in the ‘Managers Update Messages’ section.

Please note that changes and additions from the previous version are highlighted in ‘Yellow’ i.e. caring for dependants, sick pay and clinically extremely vulnerable.

NOTE: Please also note that these Q & A documents are ‘Royal Mail Group’ advice documents and not all of the contents are agreed with the CWU.

Contents List:

  1. Prevention
  2. Self-isolation, testing and reporting
  3. Cleaning and consumables
  4. Travel
  5. Support and advice
  6. POLICY 
  1. General guidance
  2. Travel/and annual holiday
  3. Caring for dependants
  4. Sick pay
  5. Attendance process
  6. Vulnerable employees
  1. General Ops advice
  2. NHS testing kits
  3. Operational processes and reporting changes
  4. Delivering and collecting from customers
  5. Fleet and vehicles

Any enquiries to this LTB or feedback on the RMG Q&A document should be directed to Dave Joyce CWU National Health, Safety & Environment Officer. Issues received in connection with the attached which are appropriate to other CWU/HQ Departments will be passed on the appropriate National Officer.


  • Coronavirus Guidance Questions and Answers V78

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 016/21 – Royal Mail Group – Latest Updated Coronavirus Covid-19 – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Guidance Document (Version 78)

Coronavirus Guidance Questions and Answers v78

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