Behind Royal Mail’s Attack on Workers #WeRiseAgain

This article is critical for us. It exposes to the public exactly what we are facing with the a Royal Mail Board.

Please make sure you do everything possible to share it, tag your friends and family and make sure your customers know about it.

https://tribunemag.co.uk/2019/10/behind-royal-mails-attack-on-workers

#WeRiseAgain

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Postal workers have just voted to strike. According to the workers, all they feared when the formerly nationalised mail delivery service was privatised in 2013 …….

Postal workers have just voted to strike. According to the workers, all they feared when the formerly nationalised mail delivery service was privatised in 2013 is now coming to a head: Royal Mail is being broken up, Parcelforce hived off, jobs are being cut, promises over shorter hours are being binned and management bullying in the depots, they say, is intensifying. The CWU argues that underlying all this is a company board which has become overpaid and irresponsible, and whose only response to challenge is to squeeze what they can out of Royal Mail’s staff. They say this is the “fight of their lives.” But who are they fighting?

In 2009, a political scandal shook the UK. Leaked records showed many MPs secretly abused their expenses to enrich themselves and pay for luxuries. Across the country, the MP expenses scandal hugely undermined Parliament’s reputation. One of the most eye-catching of the shocking stories showed a former Conservative Cabinet minister including claiming the cost of having the moat cleared at his country manor house. This MP, Douglas Hogg, was the first to stand down from Parliament because of the scandal.

But Douglas Hogg was not the only top Tory enjoying the publicly funded moat — or the maintenance of the family’s Aga cooker or the £18,000 annual gardening costs or payments for the “mole man” and other expenses. Hogg shared the Lincolnshire Manor House with his wife, Baroness Sarah Hogg. According to reports of Douglas Hogg’s correspondence with the Parliamentary Fees Office, Hogg said his expenses claim was high because he had to pay for staff to maintain the Lincolnshire manor house when he and his wife were away in their London townhouse.

Like her husband, Sarah Hogg had deep connections to the Tory Party: she had been the head of Tory Prime Minister John Major’s Policy Unit in the 1990s. Sarah Hogg was credited with a key role in writing the 1992 Tory manifesto, with its pledge to privatise rail. Hogg renewed her Tory connections when George Osborne made her a director of the Treasury from 2016-7, supporting his austerity programme. Expenses scandal, John Major’s policies, rail privatisation, Osborne’s austerity — you might think Baroness Hogg’s record is all that is wrong with Britain’s political elite. But not Royal Mail Group, who in May 2019 made 73-year-old Hogg their Senior Independent Director. Hogg is one of the six “non-executive,” or part-time, directors on the Royal Mail Group’s eight-person board.

But the most significant board member is Rico Back, Royal Mail CEO, recruited to the board from one of the company’s European subsidiaries in 2018. Since then Back has stumbled from scandal to scandal. In 2018 shareholders revolted against Royal Mail’s pay plans: 70% of shareholders refused to support the company’s pay report, including Back’s own £5.8 million ‘golden hello’ and annual deal worth up to £2.7 million. It was the largest such revolt at a UK public company in at least a decade.

Even the City was shocked at the scale of Back’s pay packet, especially given his recruitment from one of the company’s own subsidiaries. But that wasn’t to be the end of the scandals. In 2018 we learned that Back intended to run Royal Mail from his £2.3 million luxury penthouse overlooking Lake Zurich in Switzerland. Back would travel 500 miles every week from his Swiss compound, frequented by Porsches and Bentleys, to wage a battle against the CWU, whose members earned an average of £28,274 per year.

The union said Back’s appointment was evidence of Royal Mail’s intended direction. It goes back to Royal Mail’s decision to buy the private Dutch courier firm founded by Back, which became Euro-delivery company General Logistics Systems (GLS). When Royal Mail promoted Back, they said he still had special “management control rights” at GLS, which he’d been given to make the subsidiary more “entrepreneurial”. That was the justification for the £6 million golden hello. In GLS’ case, more entrepreneurialism meant sky-high corporate pay mixed with allegations of 14-hour days for workers, bogus self-employment and earning as little as €3 per hour.

In fact, GLS’s record shows what “entrepreneurial” mail delivery services tend to look like. In September 2016, workers throughout northern Italy went on strike against GLS and its subsidiaries and subcontractors, protesting against low pay, poor conditions, subcontracting and precarious work. The dispute got so bad that one worker was even killed by a truck on the picket lines in Piacenza, leading to big protests. Conditions at GLS in Italy are still sparking protests. This April workers occupied the roof at one GLS depot for two weeks, in protest at sackings. The fact that these are the business practices Royal Mail sought to import with the appointment of Rico Back goes some way to explaining the current standoff.

And Back isn’t alone. Michael Findlay, another board member appointed after Rico Back became boss, also has experience running a gig economy mail firm. Findlay had a long banking career, but Royal Mail’s website emphasises his role for seven years as a director of UK Mail, one of the bigger private courier companies. Findlay helped organise the sale of UK Mail to Germany’s Deutsche Post for £243 million in 2016, with £130m going to the founding Kane family — whose leading figure Peter Kane is a major Tory donor, giving the Party some £550,000 and regularly dining with Conservative ministers.

UK Mail made its millions by squeezing their supposedly self-employed staff. Its practices included hefty fines when couriers were off sick. In one particularly notorious incident, a workers was fine nearly £800 after suffering a car accident while on duty. This was on top of the £1,800 he had lost from taking just seven sick days in a year. It was business practices like these which produced the £16 million in profit UK Mail made the year it was bought out by Deutsche Post.

Royal Mail’s recent appointments make clear that the company is heading in a very different direction from its recent publicly-owned past — and towards headlong collision with its unions. As if all the above didn’t make that clear enough, the appointments of British Airways veterans Keith Williams and Maya da Cunha hammer it home. Williams has held various top BA jobs, including Chief Executive, and became board chair this May, the same month that former BA Director of People and Legal da Cunha was appointed to the board.

The Royal Mail were quick to praise da Cunha’s “extensive dealings with trade unions” and experience in “transformation” and “employee engagement” while at BA. It didn’t mention that much of this experience had come during one of the most long-standing and bitter industrial disputes in recent history, between BA and their cabin crew. Both Williams and da Cunha were involved in that bitter fight as the airline tried to cut costs. Their new company is heading in very much the same direction.

DISPUTE RELATING TO THE ROYAL MAIL GROUP PROPOSAL TO CREATE PARCELFORCE LIMITED A SEPARATE LEGAL TRADING COMPANY WITHIN ROYAL MAIL GROUP 

DISPUTE RELATING TO THE ROYAL MAIL GROUP PROPOSAL TO CREATE PARCELFORCE LIMITED A SEPARATE LEGAL TRADING COMPANY WITHIN ROYAL MAIL GROUP 

Further to LTB 599/19 please find attached further material that we would ask you to circulate. This provides clarity around the timescales, following the conclusion of the External Mediation.

The poster should be used for notice boards and we would encourage every Parcelforce unit to ensure this is displayed. The attached can also be handed out at gate meetings and circulated on social media.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support and the work you are doing to ensure we reach a successful conclusion to this dispute.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Davie Robertson                            Ray Ellis                                 

Assistant Secretary                          Assistant Secretary

LTB 610- 19 –

 

ATT LTB 610



RMPFS – Pension Salary Exchange (PSE)

RMPFS – Pension Salary Exchange (PSE)

RMPFS has sent letters on Pension Salary Exchange (PSE) to staff at home addresses. Unfortunately the Union was not advised that this communication was to take place and it has already generated some concern and a significant level of enquiries from members.

The Union has no in principle objection to Pension Salary Exchange, which was introduced to the rest of Royal Mail Group after discussion with CWU in June 2015.

The communications from RMPFS appear to have been sent solely to members of the Royal Mail Pension Plan and as far as we are aware members of the Defined Contribution Schemes currently operating in RMPFS have not been invited to participate in PSE.

The Union has written to RMPFS to clarify the position and a further LTB will be issued when clarification is received.

All enquiries regarding the content of this LTB should be addressed to the PTCS Department, quoting reference 302. Email address: khawkins@cwu.org or contact the Outdoor Department, reference 120.12, email address: outdoorsecretary@cwu.org. 

Yours sincerely

Ray Ellis
Assistant Secretary

 

Mark Baulch
Assistant Secretary

19LTB607

 



Average Pay on Leave (Holiday Pay Claims) – Non-Payment of Agreed Settlements

Average Pay on Leave (Holiday Pay Claims) – Non-Payment of Agreed Settlements

The Department has been made aware that a number of individual settlements agreed and signed via the COT3 have not yet been paid within the agreed timescale. For clarity this money should be paid to the claimant via the payroll system “no later than 21 working days following receipt by the respondent’s representative of this agreement duly signed by or on behalf of the claimant”.

The CWU sought advice from ACAS in relation to the issue of non-payments and this is reproduced below for the attention of those Branches with members who have not been paid within the agreed timescales.

 

If the settlement sum is not paid as agreed, the Claimant or their Representative should contact ACAS, or alternatively see www.acas.org.uk/COT3enforcement for information on the enforcement procedures under s.142 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Please note that as from 6th April 2016 a party may be liable to a financial penalty not exceeding £5000 if a payment due under the terms of the settlement is not made. 

Branches are also advised that a further meeting to pursue a collective agreement with Royal Mail Group has been arranged for 6th November 2019. In the interim, I would like to thank you all for your continued hard work and reiterate that Branches are encouraged to continue to maximise the number of claims through ACAS.

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)  

19LTB606 – Average Pay on Leave (Holiday Pay Claims) Non-Payment of Agreed Settlements

 



Post Office Ltd (POL) – Free Flu Jab Vaccination Scheme 2019

Post Office Ltd (POL) – Free Flu Jab Vaccination Scheme 2019:

This is to inform all CWU Branches with Post Office Ltd (POL) ‎members that the provision of ‘Free Flu Jabs’ has been discussed and POL’s National Health and Safety Manager has confirmed that POL will again be providing ‘Free’ Flu Vaccination Vouchers for employees this year.

A communication has been sent out to POL Offices confirming that the Post Office will offer employees an opportunity to have a ‘Free Flu Vaccination.’

A communications article has been issued on the POL Intranet site and POL field team leaders are being contacted to ensure staff are aware of the flu jab scheme offer. Office managers are being contacted by the POL health and safety team and responses requesting Flu Vaccination Vouchers are being processed and non-responders are being chased up this week requesting prompt action from office managers in collecting names of those employees wishing to accept the offer of a ‘Free Flu Jab Voucher’ which will be ordered for those requesting them and despatched promptly. Members will have two months to use them in a high street pharmacy/chemist.

The attached flyer is also being circulated.

The POL Intranet Comms are available here:

https://poluk.sharepoint.com/sites/thehub/SitePages/Flu-vaccinations.aspx

Members taking up the opportunity of a ‘Free Flu Jab’ will be expected to attend for their flu jab in their own time and can use the ‘Free Flu Jab Voucher’ at listed pharmacies.

Any POL managers requiring further advice or information should call Martin Hopcroft Post Office Head of Health & Safety‎ on 07889 045810‎ or e-mail: martin.hopcroft@postoffice.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

19LTB609 Post Office Ltd (POL) – Free Flu Jab Vaccination Scheme 2019

A5 Flu

 



LGBT+ 

LGBT+ 

At a recent NEC meeting, it was agreed that future references to LGBT matters shall now be referred to as LGBT+. The updating of this terminology is regarded as being much more inclusive of the diversity that exists within the rainbow spectrum.

This new terminology also allows for a degree of future proofing and we would be grateful if updates can be implemented accordingly in the Branches and Regions.

Our department would like to place on record our thanks to Helen Cooper, NEC LGBT+ National Lead, for her assistance in this matter.

Any queries on this LTB should be directed to the Equality, Education & Development Department.

Yours sincerely,

 

Kate Hudson
Head of Equality, Education & Development

19LTB605 – LGBT+



2019 Dispute Relating to Honouring & Deploying the Four Pillars of Security & Pay/Guiding Principles National Agreement Between the CWU & RMG

Dear Colleagues,

2019 Dispute Relating to Honouring & Deploying the Four Pillars of Security & Pay/Guiding Principles National Agreement Between the CWU & RMG

Further to LTB 599/19, please find attached further material that we would ask you to circulate which provides clarity around the timescales following the conclusion of the external mediation. We also believe that this information will enable our members to anticipate all potential events and organise themselves accordingly.

We would encourage every unit to share the attached poster as widely as possible and ensure that it is displayed on notice boards, handed out at Gate meetings and circulated on social media.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support and for the work you are undertaking to ensure that we reach a successful conclusion to this dispute.

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 608.19 Attachment 1

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