Equality, Education & Development Department – New Generic E-mail Address

Equality, Education & Development Department – New Generic E-mail Address

I hope this LTB finds you safe and well. 

The purpose of this LTB is to advise Branches that the Equality, Education & Development Department have arranged for a new generic e-mail address for all enquiries through my department at Head Office. 

Whilst my team will retain their usual e-mail addresses this new address will be our preferred method for general enquiries equality&education@cwu.org 

Branches should also be aware that the Harassment Helpline facility is still in place and you can contact it on 0800 090 2303

Yours sincerely,

Kate Hudson
Head of Equality, Education & Development

20LTB188 – Equality, Education & Development Dept – New E-mail Address

UN-AGREED RECRUITMENT OF AGENCY/CASUALS – UPDATE

UN-AGREED RECRUITMENT OF AGENCY/CASUALS – UPDATE

Branches will be aware that prior to the COVID19 outbreak and recent announcements, the Postal Department had received many enquiries in relation to the un-agreed recruitment of agency and casual workers.

Branches will recall that at the time the National Ballot(s) for strike action were still in progress and a response was received from Mark Rush, Head of ER/IR Operations, stating that the recruitment of agency was needed in order to help the business with the recovery of service – to minimise the effect on service quality around strike days and the Easter period.

Given the extremely fast escalation of the COVID19 virus and the fact that postal workers have been given ‘key worker’ status, the union has not announced national strike action to date but has requested an extension to the period during which this can now be taken. As a result, the terms of the previous correspondence from the business are no longer applicable.

However, over the past two weeks the Postal Department has been inundated with enquiries about the un-agreed recruitment of additional agency workers in Delivery Offices, Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres. This has centred on concerns about the vetting process that is being used, whether agency workers have been briefed about social distancing, whether the self-isolation procedures for these workers will result in them attending work if they should be self-isolating and other health and safety matters.

The purpose of this LTB is to therefore make Branches aware that all of these issues are being raised with Royal Mail Group nationally and that both operational Officers with responsibility for indoor and outdoor functions have written to the business formally in relation to the un-agreed recruitment of agency and casual workers.

On behalf of the Outdoor Department, Postal Executive member Tony Bouch wrote to the business on 3rd April 2020 to raise a number of operational issues, including whether part-time OPGs have been given the chance to increase their hours, when agency/casual workers would be stood down and requesting confirmation that the IR Framework will continue to apply. A copy of this correspondence is attached and a response has not yet been received.

In relation to the generic concerns regarding use of agency workers in Mail Centre/RDCs and Delivery Units, a number of discussions have taken place with the business on introducing effective resourcing processes during the crisis, with proper controls to prioritise workload and limit the requirement for agency staff.    On 30th March 2020 the Postal Department sent a proposed Joint Statement to management that included criteria for an agreed process to govern any agreed utilisation of agency workers in all functions. This matter was also discussed during a conference call on 3rd April 2020, during which management indicated that they would formally respond to the proposal. However at the time of preparing this LTB a formal response is still awaited.

The proposed Joint Statement was based on the following principles which should guide any local discussions:

  • All resourcing activity during the crisis will prioritise the use of Royal Mail employees.
  • Agency staff will only be utilised where essential workload cannot be covered internally by offering additional hours and enacting requests to defer or realign annual leave to maximise the availability of internal resource.
  • Where agency staff are required, Angard and other suppliers will dedicate agency staff to Royal Mail, reducing the number of individuals entering the workplace.
  • The use of agency staff will at no time compromise the social distancing arrangements in place to reduce risk.

Branches should note that the union nationally continues to pursue the issue of the un-agreed recruitment of agency and casual workers and address the concerns that have been highlighted by our members.

Further updates will be provided as 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)               

Andy Furey – Assistant Secretary     

Davie Robertson – Assistant Secretary

Mark Baulch – Assistant Secretary     

Carl Maden  – Acting Assistant Secretary         

20LTB186 UN-AGREED RECRUITMENT OF AGENCY CASUALS – UPDATE

LTB 186.20 Attachment 1

Easter Saturday 11th April 2020 – Non-Service Day

Easter Saturday 11th April 2020 – Non-Service Day

To recognise and reward our members for their commendable efforts in keeping this great public service up and running under extremely difficult circumstances, the CWU believe members deserve a full weekend with their families and a break from the current daily pressure. We equally believe that the public we serve would fully understand and support such an act of appreciation.

Against that backdrop I have today written to the business (letter attached) calling for Easter Saturday to be a non-service day. Branches will be updated immediately once a response is received.

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)

20LTB185 Easter Saturday – Non-Service Day

LTB 185.20 Attachment 1

Domestic Violence/Abuse

Domestic Violence/Abuse

As the coronavirus pandemic forces governments to take unprecedented steps to restrict peoples’ movements across the country, the CWU Equality, Education and Development Department have become increasingly aware of the rising number of victims of domestic/sexual violence and domestic/sexual abuse. The purpose of this LTB is to help representatives to advise and support members and to signpost them as to what information is available. 

Signs of Domestic Violence/Abuse in the Workplace

CWU representatives are reminded that there may be signs that a member is a victim of domestic violence/abuse and these may be indicative of other concerns. Although we recognise that representatives are not trained counsellors or specialists in dealing with domestic/sexual violence or abuse, often members will not feel confident in speaking to management and may prefer to involve a trade union official or utilise the expertise of our equality representatives. 

Where reps feel confident, they should facilitate a conversation with the member and identify where appropriate support is needed. During the conversation representatives may wish to ask the member indirect and open questions, to help establish a relationship with the member. Below are some examples of questions that could be used. 

How are you doing at the moment?  I have noticed recently that you are not yourself, is anything the matter? Is everything all right at home?  What support do you think might help?  What would you like to happen? How? 

If a representative has reason to believe that a member is experiencing a form of domestic violence, domestic abuse and/or sexual violence, they should refer to their employer’s domestic violence/abuse policy/guidelines in the first instance and encourage members to report it to their line manager so that they can be properly supported.

We have a very good booklet on the issue, which was produced by the Women’s Advisory Committee and can be found using the following link: https://www.cwu.org/media/9684/02838domestic-violence-booklet_2017.pdf 

If you require further assistance you can contact the Equality, Education and Development Department on equality&education@cwu.org

We understand that members may also need specialist support and attached is a comprehensive list of useful contacts that you may wish to signpost to members. 

PLEASE NOTE: If members are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer them to the relevant police force who will assist without them having to speak.

Yours sincerely, 

Kate Hudson 
Head of Equality, Education & Development

20LTB 184 – Domestic Violence Abuse

Attachment-to-LTB-184-20-–-Domestic-Violence-Abuse (1)

COVID 19 – UPDATE

COVID 19 – UPDATE

It is with great sadness we have been advised that two postal workers, Bola Omoyeni and Stefan Haluszczak, tragically died in hospital over the weekend after contracting Covid19. 

Bola worked at the National Distribution Centre in Northampton and was also a long standing CWU representative, who for many years had held a position at National level on our Race Advisory Committee.  He was a friend and colleague to many CWU reps around the country and made a great contribution to representing our members.  Bola had spent over 30 years working for Royal Mail.

Stefan was also a long standing employee of Royal Mail, who worked at the Coventry Parcels Hub.  He was very well respected in the office and had worked for the company for 8 years.

We are sure we speak on behalf of the whole of the union in sending our sincere condolences

to the family and friends of both of our colleagues who passed away. 

The union is in contact with our local Branch and Royal Mail to ascertain the full circumstances and we will be supporting our members and the Branch in dealing with the situation.

The thoughts of the whole of the CWU are with the families and friends of our two members who tragically passed away over the weekend.

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward Terry Pullinger

General Secretary                                                     Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

20LTB183 COVID19 UPDATE

D2D NHS CAMPAIGN – April 2020


D2D NHS CAMPAIGN – April 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As previously advised to Branches in LTB 173/20 colleagues will be aware that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is writing to every household in the UK, enforcing the stay safe policy being ordered by government, as well as other advice.

Accordingly, we have attempted over the course of the week to establish more detail in regards to this mailing and to also document a jointly agreed set of guidelines with Royal Mail management at a National level.

Disappointingly, Royal Mail has once again chosen not to engage with the Union at a National Level in any genuine or meaningful way in order for us to provide satisfactory advice in terms exact timescales of when these items will be arriving into delivery units or the operational process for delivering them.

Given the current attitude from the Royal Mail senior management team, along with their current structures and interfaces with the National Union means that it is extremely difficult to deal with current issues in a joined up and constructive manner. It is unacceptable that at a time of National unprecedented crisis and at a time when everyone should be pulling together for National interest that Royal mail should act in this way. Particularly in regards to an important National Government posting, which contains advice that is in the public interest.

Therefore, we are issuing the following advice to our Branches and Representatives in order for them to engage in Area/local discussions with management along the following lines to establish an agreed process for dealing with the National NHS D2D drop covering the following points;

  • These National NHS D2D items take precedence over all other national D2D items. (Taking account of CWU policy of suspending other commercial D2D items.)
  • Essential indoor plan for the prep of items to ensure ‘warm call’ is facilitated as far as possible (which would include advance and staggered prep arrangements); noting some units perform reduced hours on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Daily joint discussion in order to establish product priority along with fair and manageable workloads taking account of the current working arrangements.
  • Establish how the delivery of the items can take place in units with high absence levels.
  • Maintain social distancing as part of any local arrangements.
  • Comply with current ‘one person, one van’ policy – with adequate replenishment solutions, including dealing with any weight on delivery issues.

As outlined above local discussions will need to take place as a matter of urgency in order to ensure compliance with the operational specification as much as possible given the measures and constraints in delivery offices that are already in place as a consequence of the current Covid-19 crisis.

In regards to the 3-day delivery specification we are of the understanding that this contract and commitment has been given to the Government on a “best endeavours” basis.

Our complete dissatisfaction continues to be made clear to the company who seem to believe that it is better to plough on regardless without the CWU, whilst continually showing disregard to our members.

Any enquires as to the content of this LTB should be directed to the Outdoor Department, reference 230.03, email address: outdoorsecretary@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch                         

CWU Assistant Secretary

LTB – D2D NHS CAMPAIGN April 2020 MB doc 2_DG_TB

ROYAL MAIL GROUP – CWU ACTIONS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Dear Colleague

ROYAL MAIL GROUP – CWU ACTIONS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

On Wednesday, we issued a statement to members explaining that Royal Mail’s response to the CWU proposal to increase protection and support for our members during the Coronavirus pandemic, was completely unacceptable to the union.

The purpose of this LTB is to update Branches and members on the actions we have taken and outline further steps that we are announcing to force Royal Mail to act and change the company’s national approach to the pandemic.

To recap, the CWU proposal was designed to work with the company and the Government to get in front of the inevitable and increase protection for our members, minimise the potential for postal workers to spread the virus, whilst at the same time ensuring that Royal Mail could prioritise its operations and maintain an emergency national network to support the country and the business.

The CWU proposal takes the strongest possible position on health and safety by insisting our members should not be required to work if Personal Protective Equipment and Government and Public Health Authorities’ advice on social distancing measures are not in place. We were also pre-empting the reality of the challenges keyworkers and the whole country will face in the coming weeks as the pandemic reaches a peak. This is about linking a necessary relaxation of national service standards to enable social distancing in all offices and giving a better chance for our members to cope as sickness/self-isolation increases.

In putting the proposal forward, we are also aware that the provision of PPE and enforcement of social distancing is at different levels across our Regions and workplaces. We acknowledge that in some locations local managers are working well with the union to make prioritising the safety of our members a reality on the ground. However, this is being undermined on a daily basis by a lack of empathy and leadership from the top of Royal Mail, with the senior management team failing to act in the best interests of the workforce.

Against this background, it’s important that our members recognise that CWU representatives are doing their utmost across the country to support the workforce during these extraordinary times and we want to publically thank them for the initiatives that they are undertaking regionally and locally on behalf of our members.  This is undoubtedly having an impact and through their efforts we have seen a significant shift towards better working arrangements.
 
Since Wednesday, to increase the pressure to make the CEO and the senior management team take stronger action in line with our proposal, the union has taken the following steps:-
 
• We have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, asking the Government to intervene and we are awaiting a response.
• We have written to the Minister directly responsible for Royal Mail and the Post Office, Paul Scully, and are expecting a meeting with him later today, or on Monday.
• We have also written to all MPs, enclosing our proposal and asking them to lobby the Chief Executive and the Government to take stronger action and force Royal Mail to change their national approach.  From this we know that senior Labour politicians are directly challenging the Government to take action.
• We have spoken to Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC and she is taking up our case, along with problems all workers are facing, with Government Minister Michael Gove today.  
 
As well as setting out the conditions our members are working in, the above letters and actions we have taken with political leaders, make the point that the CEO has to lead by example and re-engage with the union at national level.
 
In the meantime, we can also advise that the following further steps are being taken.
 
Health and Safety
• We are issuing advice today to our members on their individual rights under the 1996 Health and Safety legislation.  This advice has been sent out in LTB 178/20 from Assistant Secretary Ray Ellis and for ease of reference is also attached again to this LTB.  This advice makes it clear that individuals have the right to refuse to work if they believe they are in serious and imminent danger.  Representatives have been encouraged to raise any such potential situation with management and to escalate the matter to a higher level within the business if it cannot be resolved.
 
• We reiterate the position we have already given to Royal Mail:-
If Personal Protective Equipment is not in place for all employees, or in any workplace, then that office should cease its operations until the equipment has been provided to all employees.  This includes gloves and hand sanitisers.

If social distancing measures are not in place, in line with the Government advice (2 meters apart), then the office should be closed until this is rectified.  Additional measures in this statement are designed to support the introduction of strict social distancing in every Royal Mail Group workplace.

• A number of individuals and offices have taken strong action locally on safety issues, which   has significantly improved PPE and social distancing.  
 
Supporting and Enforcing the CWU Proposal at Local Level
 
• We are asking all CWU representatives to make representation to managers at local, area and divisional level, in order to implement the CWU proposal and develop a menu of options that introduce our approach in local workplaces.  This is already happening and we know that there are some managers who are listening to our representatives and adjusting service standards accordingly.  Utilising our health and safety and industrial representatives in this way will eventually force the company to change their position at national level.
 
• The National Officers responsible for Delivery, Mail Centres, Distribution and Parcelforce are developing a further menu of options which will be cascaded through union structures to support the introduction of our proposal and how matters should be taken through the IR Framework.
• If by next week, there is not a consistent approach to PPE, social distancing and a supportive change (as outlined in our proposal) for giving our members full pay on sick absence/self-isolation scenarios and unreasonable positions on annual leave, the union will be launching and giving publicity to a national vote of no confidence in the CEO Rico Back.  To this end, we will be writing directly to the Chairman of the Royal Mail Group Board and his Board members, setting out our position and publicising this as an open letter to the Government, the country and the media.
• We are asking all CWU representatives to take up with their local managers and register a disagreement through the IR Framework, on the various sick leave/self-isolation/annual leave scenarios where managers are not giving our members full pay or treating them with dignity and respect.  The CWU demands on this are included in our proposal and there is evidence that some local managers support what we are asking for and under the radar have taken actions to put this in place.  Once again, this will put pressure on the CEO and senior management team to change their national approach.
• We are asking all Branch Secretaries to write to their local MPs and explain why the actions of the Chief Executive and his senior management team are unacceptable.  We will issue a template for this letter later today.  This will also focus on the need for the CEO to re-engage with the union at a national level.

Conclusion
 
We are confident that through the actions we have taken and the implementation of the next steps set out in this LTB, that we will see the company further shifting its position.
 
The union’s Executive will meet next Tuesday to review the situation and discuss any additional actions.  In the meantime, we would ask all Branches and representatives to ensure that the content of this LTB is publicised to all members and workplaces.
 
Yours sincerely

Dave Ward Terry Pullinger
GS DGSP

POST OFFICE: POLICY DECISION & CORONAVIRUS “FORUM”

POST OFFICE: POLICY DECISION & CORONAVIRUS “FORUM”

Further to LTB 163/20 dated 27th March. Branches will wish to know we were holding daily calls with the Post Office with regards to the health, safety and well-being of our members during the Coronavirus crisis. However, despite the collaborate working (which resulted in the Joint Statement in relation to a change to opening hours published last Friday) there were many issues on which our members did not believe the Post Office was moving fast enough to resolve, such as the supply of much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all sections of the business. As a reminder, with regards to opening hours, we secured a change in Crown Office opening times as follows:

Mon – Fri: 9am – 3pm (previously 9am – 5.30pm or 6pm)

Due to the similar circumstances between what was happening in the Post Office and those being experienced by our Royal Mail members, in conjunction with Dave Ward, GS and Terry Pullinger, DGS (P), the Union’s Senior Leadership made a policy decision on behalf of all of our members working across the Postal industry. We agreed to write to the CEOs of both Post Office and Royal Mail to urge them do the right thing and support and protect the well-being of our members in these extreme circumstances.

My letter to Nick Read, Post Office CEO, which is attached for your information, outlined the key components of our policy decision as follows:

  • All PPE must be in place in each and every workplace (including the Supply Chain operation and vehicles) or the operation will be suspended where this isn’t happening 
  • Transactions & services performed across the entire Post Office network should be reduced to absolute essential items only which support communities and the vulnerable/disadvantaged, together with the revised Royal Mail operation. The essential items should be jointly determined between Post Office and CWU
  • All Post Offices should close at 1pm Monday to Friday and 12.30pm on Saturday 
  • Anyone over 65 should be attending work only if they are comfortable and confident to do so 
  • Employees should only have to work alternative days to enable strict social distancing and total equipment/workstation cleansing prior to each day. This means no more than three attendances per week by any person 
  • Social Distancing must operate in each and every Post Office without exception. Where this is not undertaken, the service will be closed until this operation can be put in place in order to protect those providing essential Post Office services including Crew and Royal Mail Collection Drivers. 

It should be noted that PPE is belatedly starting to arrive in workplaces (in the last day or so) which includes self-assembly Perspex screens, gloves, santiser etc. This has not been received everywhere as yet; however, we are hopeful that this will be fully resolved today.

Disappointingly, Nick Read chose not to respond personally to my letter and delegated the reply to Lee Kelly, Employee Relations and Policy Director. This correspondence, which we received late on Wednesday night, is also attached.

Whilst some elements of the Post Office’s letter are clearly unsatisfactory, we were encouraged by the proposal to establish a “forum” to “further discuss and potentially reach agreement on some of the points that you have raised”.

In conjunction with our Representatives we considered our next steps including the proposal above regarding a “forum” and it was agreed by all that we should support this proposal in order to be able to influence the Post Office’s direction on any policy and strategy in relation to the Coronavirus. The first meeting (via conference call) of the forum will take place later today and further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

20LTB180 Post Office – Policy Decision & Coronavirus – Forum

Attachment 1 to LTB180

Attachment 2 to LTB180

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