Latest from the Branch

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

POST OFFICE: PENSION PLAN GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – NEWSLETTER

LTB 269/20 dated 22nd May 2020 reported on the inaugural newsletter from the Post Office Pension Plan, which was sent to our Post Office members in May 2020 and is attached for reference.

I am pleased to advise Branches that the second Governance Committee newsletter is being published today and is attached to this LTB for information.  The newsletter is being sent to scheme members via email and provides an update on various matters relating to their pensions.

The newsletter, which has been jointly developed with significant input from the CWU, contains information relating to the following:

  • The various people involved in the Governance Group
  • A new Scottish Widows App that allows scheme members to track the value of their pension pot
  • Performance Update on Investments
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Pension scams

Crucially the newsletter promotes the recently agreed new pension tier of 8% employee and 12% employer and signposts how scheme members can move on to these enhanced rates.

Branches and 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

Attachment 1: 21LTB314 Post Office Pension Plan Governance Committee – Newsletter

Attacment 2: Attachment 1 to 21LTB314 – PO Pension Plan Newsletter No 1

Attachment 3: Attachment 2 to 21LTB314 – PO Pension Plan Newsletter No 2

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CWU CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS 2020

CWU CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS 2020

Please note that the Accounts attached to the previously published LTB contained a typographical error on page 7.  Whilst all other information contained in the accounts is correct, this has now been amended and attached. 

Please find attached a copy of the final CWU Consolidated Accounts for the financial year 2020.

Accordingly Branches are now invited to forward questions to the attached CWU Consolidated Accounts 2020 to arrive by no later than 12:00 hours on 13th August 2021.

Please note all questions should be sent to the email address sdgs@cwu.org.  Please note, any emails sent to any other email address will not receive a response and will not be included in the published questions and answers. 

Any other queries on this LTB should also be addressed to sdgs@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Kearns

Senior Deputy General Secretary

21LTB313 ERRATA

CWU Accounts 2020 ERRATA

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Election of: Parcelforce Worldwide Substitute Area Health & Safety Representative – North Region

Election of: Parcelforce Worldwide Substitute Area Health & Safety Representative – North Region

Further to LTB 174/21 dated 29th April 2021, a timetable has now been set for the above ballot and is as follows:

Ballot Papers Despatched:         5th August 2021

Ballot Closes:                                 25th August 2021

Any enquiries regarding this LTB should be addressed to the Senior Deputy General Secretary’s Department, telephone number 020 8971 7237 or email address sdgs@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Tony Kearns

Senior Deputy General Secretary

21LTB312

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CWU/Royal Mail National Terms of Reference – Uniform ‘Mini’ Proof of Concept Trial on a revised Female Skirt

CWU/Royal Mail National Terms of Reference – Uniform ‘Mini’ Proof of Concept Trial on a revised Female Skirt

Branches will recall that Letter To Branches 264/21, Addendum to the Code of Practice between Royal Mail & CWU on Dress Standards (Revised Uniform Agreement 2018): Covering the New Range of Uniform Allocation (The New Performance Wardrobe), dated the 25thof June, outlined the details and timeline of the switch over to a new uniform range following extensive trial activity.

Whilst the new uniform range is seen as a welcomed development and a major overhaul of the current range, both Royal Mail and CWU do not see this as an end state in terms of further and ongoing improvements to the uniform. As such, the attached Terms of Reference set out a ‘Mini’ Proof of Concept Trial on a revised Female Skirt.

Back in 2018 Royal Mail removed the female skirt from the uniform range due to it being an extremely slow-moving product, with less than 50 order requests a year at that point in time. However, Royal Mail still retained ‘off the shelf’ alternatives based on two skirt designs for those colleagues who requested them.

Whilst the demand for the skirts remains very low it has become clear that the two current off the shelf designs available are limited in their operational suitability, in particular, for colleagues that work outdoors.

With this in mind, talks have been taking place between Royal Mail and the CWU on possible alterative options which would be more suitable for the wider operational roles. However, it has become clear during these talks and the wider procurement process that there is very limited ‘commercial or occupational’ skirt styles and designs which would suit the diverse roles within Royal Mail.

Nonetheless, talks have now concluded and resulted in these TOR and the outlined trial of a new off the shelf skirt design. The design selected is a black skirt which features a small split at the back, two side pockets, two pockets at the back and belt loops. Those who have agreed to be involved in the trial will be issued with two skirts, they will also be used with one flexi belt and one holster pocket.

This outlined ‘Mini’ Proof of Concept Trial will take place from August and will run for 6 weeks following which a joint CWU/Royal Mail review will then be held on the trial feedback against the standard success criteria as outlined.

Any enquiries regarding this subject matter or uniform matters in general should be directed to the Outdoor Department, reference 500, email address: njones@cwu.org

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch                                                 

CWU Assistant Secretary

LTB 311.21 – Uniform Mini Proof of Concept Trial on a revised Female Skirt

TOR Uniform Mini Proof of Concept Trial on a revised Female Skirt

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Hazards Conference 2021 – ‘Fighting for the Fundamental Right to Safe and Healthy Work’ – Saturday 31st July – Sunday 1st August 2021 – An ‘On-Line’ Free Event For Safety Reps:

Hazards Conference 2021 – ‘Fighting for the Fundamental Right to Safe and Healthy Work’ – Saturday 31st July – Sunday 1st August 2021 – An ‘On-Line’ Free Event For Safety Reps:

Final Reminder

This Year’s Hazards 2021 Conference will (as was the 2020 event) be an ‘online’ event, taking place on Saturday 31st July/Sunday 1st August 2021 – the second time the event has gone on-line in its history, following on from the 2020 event due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

All CWU Health and Safety Reps are welcome to participate in this event which is both recommended, supported and sponsored by the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department.

The original 2020 and 2021 National Hazards Conferences were scheduled, as in past years, to take place at the now usual venue, the University of Keele, Stoke-on-Trent but like so many conference gatherings, it came as no surprise that the Hazards Campaign were forced to cancel the Conferences due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic and instead switch to on-line events instead.

CWU/HQ are therefore delighted that the Hazards Campaign have not given up and are again, as last year, instead putting on this abridged version of the conference with a one and a half day, on-line conference involving national and international speakers and plenty of interesting subject matter on the agenda.

Between 300 – 500 safety reps from all the UK’s Trade Unions, officers and activists have attended past conferences and in 2019 the Hazards Campaign celebrated 30 years of successful Hazards Conferences.

The Conference Agenda

This unique Zoom based online conference starts with an international plenary and is followed by four specific subject workshops with brilliant speakers and experts throughout the day.

Each Zoom workshop will start at the advertised time and will provide an opportunity to join in the discussions and together help formulate action plans to direct Hazards Campaign work priorities for the next 12 months.

SATURDAY 10:00–15:30

10.00–11.30 Opening Plenary with national and international speakers on the Fundamental Right to safe and healthy work –

Sharan Burrow General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation ITUC, Richard Wagstaff President NZCTU, Shavanah Taj, General Secretary Wales TUC and Shelly Asquith TUC National Health and Safety Officer.

11.45–12.45 Challenging work surveillance, micro-management and other draconian working practices – Dan Shears GMB, Prof. Phil Taylor Strathclyde University, Ian Hodson BFAWU and Bryan Simpson Unite Union.

13.15–14.15 Supporting workers and their families seeking justice and health and safety enforcement – Hilda Palmer FACK and Hazards Campaign, Louise Adamson FACK, Keith Cundall Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Sam Atkinson FACK.

14.30–15.30 Challenging increased violence and abuse at work – Rob Miguel Unite Union, Kim Sunley Unison, Doug Russell USDAW, Sarah Woolley BFAWU.

SUNDAY 10:00–13:00

10.00–10.30 Plenary – UK Hazards Campaign chair Janet Newsham and Andy McDonald MP and shadow employment secretary.

10.30 – 11.30 and 11.45- 12.45 Two Workshops (pre-selected) from the following options:

  1. Safety Reps organising creatively – Andrea Oakes LRD, Barry Faulkner Unite Union.
  2. Investigating incidents and injuries in the workplace – Julie Weekes and Alan McShane TU Education.
  3. Risk Assessment and the control hierarchy – Nigel Williams, Paul Pritchard TU Education and TU Education.
  4. Work related stress and mental health harm – Alex Lancaster UCU, Paul Holleran GMB.
  5. Addressing the air pollution in our working environments – John James TU Education and Hilda Palmer TUCAN/Hazards Campaign.
  6. Sex and gender sensitive health and safety – Cath Roberts TU Education, Helen Lynn Alliance For Cancer Prevention.
  7. Asbestos at work – Michael Phillips NASUWT, Harminder Bains Leigh Day Solicitors.
  8. Hybrid Working – Ian Tasker Scottish Hazards, Tracy Edwards PCS.

12.45–13.00 Closing Plenary

Registration

To register please use these links:

Register for Saturday Session here: https://bit.ly/2SEWHDP

Register for Sunday session here: https://bit.ly/3iNMKhT

‘Free Event’ – Donations Welcome
The conference is ‘free of charge’ to participate but if delegates or their Union branch/organisation, would like to donate to the Hazards Campaign, all support would be most welcome. CWU/HQ will be sponsoring the event again this year.

There is normally a delegate fee for attending the Hazards Conference so this year Hazards are inviting delegates to make a donation to the Hazards Conference fund by either going to the Hazards Website at: https://www.peoplesfundraising.com/donation/GMHC-donation-pageor by bank transfer to ‘ Hazards conference’, Account 20090430, Sort Code 608301 and using your name as reference. All money received will be used to support organising the Hazards Conference.

Further Information

Contact Janet Newsham Tel: 07734317158 Email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Conference ‘Flyer’

See attached ‘flyer’.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

21LTB310 Hazards Conference 2021 – ‘Fighting for the Fundamental Right to Safe and Healthy Work’ – Saturday 31st July – Sunday 1st August 2021

Hazards-Campaign-Conference-Flyer-2021

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Election of National Representative Positions – 2021

Election of National Representative Positions – 2021

  • Postal Standing Orders Committee
  • Telecoms & Financial Services Standing Orders Committee

Further to LTB 262/21 dated 24th June 2021, please find detailed below the result of the ballots that closed today.

Postal SOC (4 Members)                           Phil Ewer58,210John Gaby66,384*ElectedScott Haslam74,100*ElectedPaddy Magill94,479*ElectedTony Sneddon76,199*Elected

Telecoms & Financial Services SOC (6 Members at least 2 delegates must be Women)Rob Alldritt36,858*ElectedCraig Anderson33,189*ElectedJohn Ballard11,724Joanne Shaftoe36,227*ElectedJoyce Stevenson37,220*ElectedPhil Thomas36,180*ElectedTrish Vollans35,370*Elected

Please find attached a copy of the branch breakdown for these ballots.

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,

Tony Kearns
Senior Deputy General Secretary

21LTB309

SOC Returns

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ROYAL MAIL: FINANCE SERVICES AND HR STRATEGY & SERVICES – ANNUAL BONUS PAYMENTS 2020/21

ROYAL MAIL: FINANCE SERVICES AND HR STRATEGY & SERVICES – ANNUAL BONUS PAYMENTS 2020/21

Branches are advised that we have reached an agreement with Royal Mail to pay the following bonuses to CWU members in Finance Services and HR Strategy & Services:

  • Finance Services:          £834 (83.66% from a potential of £1,000)
  • HR Strategy & Services: £588 (78.4% from a potential of £750)

These payments, which are pro-rata for part-timers, will be made with August salaries.

Our members in Legal Services will be receiving the same payment as those in HR Strategy & Services.

The two Joint Statements attached to this LTB are being published today.

Whilst the payment of these bonuses are normally made with the July salaries, I’m sure our members will be pleased with the slightly delayed outcome, especially as the payments are superior to those paid over the last couple of years.

I am pleased that Royal Mail has recognised the hard work and commitment demonstrated by our members during 2020/21 in what has been an exceptionally challenging year.

If you have any questions in relation to this LTB, please contact Lea Sheridan – lsheridan@cwu.org.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey                   

Assistant Secretary     

Attachment 1: 21LTB308 Royal Mail – Finance Services and HR Strategy & Services – Annual Bonus Payments 2020-21    

Attachment 2: Attachment 1 to 21LTB308   

Attachment 3: Attachment 2 to 21LTB308    

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SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS

SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS

Branches will be aware of the introduction of General Data Protection Act 2018 (GDPR) / Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).  This legislation applies to the CWU at all levels, including Branch, Region and National (HQ).

One aspect of this legislation is that individuals have the right to access and receive a copy of their personal data, and other supplementary information.  This is commonly referred to as a subject access request or ‘SAR’.

Subject access requests received by the CWU will normally be from CWU members or ex-members, but can also be from other individuals the CWU may have had dealings with.

The legislation states that an organisation should “Respond without delay and within one month of receipt of the request.”  The legislation also says that organisations should perform a reasonable search for the requested information.  It also states that organisations can only refuse to provide the information if an exemption or restriction applies, or if the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, but these exemptions will apply in only very limited cases.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the regulator tasked with GDPR/DPA enforcement and has already issued many enforcement orders and levied hundreds of fines against UK organisations, the vast majority of which were in the low thousands for fairly minor infractions.  However, there have been a handful of major fines that have hit the upper threshold of what’s possible.  Some of these fines have been for none-compliance with Subject Access Requests.

As the ICO stated in one such enforcement notice, “Anyone who requests their personal information from a UK-based company or organisation is legally entitled to have that request answered, in full, under UK data protection law. This is called the right of subject access. Where organisations fail to meet their obligations, the ICO can issue an enforcement notice compelling them to do so. It’s a criminal offence not to comply with it.” 

In addition to ICO enforcement action, individuals have the right to seek compensation for a failure to comply with the rules.

The fines that can be imposed can be significant. Under the DPA, the maximum fine the ICO is entitled to levy against a data controller that has breached the legislation is £500,000.

Under the GDPR, the ICO can impose up fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of group worldwide turnover (whichever is greater) against both data controllers and data processors. The following is a non-exhaustive list of GDPR provisions which, if infringed, may attract a top level fine:

the basic processing conditions including in respect of obtaining consent; 

  • infringement of the rights of data subjects;
  • international transfers of personal data; and
  • failure to implement or adhere to a subject access request process.”

So it is of vital importance that when the CWU receives a subject access request, that we comply with the request as quickly and as comprehensively as we can.

The purpose of this LTB is to remind Branches of their responsibilities in this area and to point out that Branches can play their part in this process by recognising a SAR if they receive one at Branch level and forwarding it to the CWU Data Protection Officer (details below) for processing.

It is vitally important that Branches act promptly on receipt of a request from the CWU Data Protection Officer.

This will require the Branch to collate all records (correspondence, case files etc) and forward them to the CWU Data Protection Officer without delay. This applies to all relevant records either in electronic or paper format.  Not every single mention of the subject is required but anything that has personal information about them should be included.

A similar exercise will also be carried out at HQ, checking with the Membership department, Legal department, etc.

Any references to third parties (i.e. other than the ‘Subject’ and the CWU) will be redacted before it goes out to the subject (i.e. the requestor).

We appreciate that we are all very busy and have better things to spend our time on, however, the legislation exists and our failure to comply could result in action being taken against the union. It is vital therefore that the above process is applied in every case.

For further information on the contents of this LTB, please contact the CWU Data Protection Officer: Denis Lenihan, Data Protection Officer & Information Manager, Research Department, email: dlenihan@cwu.org  Work mobile: 07874 628 423  Office Direct line: 020 8971 7279.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Kearns
Senior Deputy General Secretary

21LTB307

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JOINT STATEMENT RM RELAY AND THE COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION – Pathway to Change Agreement – Deployment of Technology and the SWW in Relay Depots

JOINT STATEMENT RM RELAY AND THE COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION – Pathway to Change Agreement – Deployment of Technology and the SWW in Relay Depots

Branches and representatives will be aware of the activity that has been taking place in relation to the Pathway to Change agreement across the various Royal Mail Group functions.

In line with the aforementioned, the department has also been in discussions with Royal Mail Specialist Services (Relay) in relation to revision activity to release the SWW for members based in that business unit.

The discussions have been difficult due the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bespoke service offerings that Relay provide. To compound the difficulties further pressures were put on the negotiations when it was unexpectedly announced in April 2021 that Relay had not retained the DHSC test kit contract and that work would be moving to a competitor (City Sprint) from 31st May 2021. Fortunately, this decision was subsequently reversed and Relay was awarded the contract. 

Both of the above issues built added complexities into what had been intense discussions with the business to conclude an agreed programme of revision activity to release the 2nd hour of the SWW. 

The department are able to report that a Joint Statement has now been concluded and endorsed by the Postal Executive, a copy of which is attached for information.

Relay had expressed a desire early in discussions to utilise technology more to optimise the effectiveness of their operation, by using Geoplan technology to deploy route and performance optimisation processes. This Depot Optimiser technology would replace the current Paragon system for the purposes of route revisions and duty construction. Pilot activity for the introduction of this technology is therefore the basis for the SWW activity.

Although Geoplan will be used solely as a route revision tool rather than as a means of managing workload in real time, it should be noted that the usual protections in terms of data management, privacy and discipline have been included in the document.

The pilot activity will take place at the Relay Thurrock and Wednesbury depots, which will be overseen by the Relay Joint Working Group to ensure that any technical issues can be identified and addressed and that drivers remain supported.

The pilot activity will be subject to review and agreement at National level prior to any further deployment.

The Joint Statement contains a three-step process in respect of the pilot activity and guidelines for local negotiations should deployment be agreed:

The following will be the enablers for the 2nd hour of the SWW: 

1. Thurrock and Wednesbury Depot pilots reviewed and deployed.

2. Revision deployment plan/timeline for remaining Relay Depots agreed.

3. Commitment to Productivity Flightpath in years 2 and 3 including the ongoing use of Geoplan technology.

The pilot activity will establish the workload baseline for future productivity improvements in respect of years 2 and 3, in line with the principles of The Pathway to Change agreement, which includes a flightpath to achieve 100 BSI by year 3. 

Commitment is also given that the JWG will monitor the Geoplan technology and review synergy opportunities to move workload through utilisation of the Parcelforce/RM locations, which could provide a more efficient footprint for the Relay operation where applicable.

Any proposed changes will be carried out in line with existing procedures and National agreements, including MTSF. 

The SWW benefit will be released for all Relay depot grade employees on the deployment date of the two pilot depot revisions.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: dwyatt@cwu.orgquoting reference: 054.06.

Yours sincerely

Davie Robertson

Assistant Secretary

LTB 306/21

Att: Joint Statement SWW RMSS 27.07.21

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POST OFFICE: HORIZON SCANDAL – FORMER POSTMASTERS TO RECEIVE INTERIM COMPENSATION PAYMENTS OF UP TO £100K

POST OFFICE: HORIZON SCANDAL – FORMER POSTMASTERS TO RECEIVE INTERIM COMPENSATION PAYMENTS OF UP TO £100K

Branches are advised that the Government announced yesterday that former Postmasters wrongly convicted of offences in relation to the Horizon IT system whose convictions have been quashed are to receive up to £100k each in “interim” compensation ahead of final compensation settlements being agreed with them.  Paul Scully, Post Office Minister said:

“The suffering and distress these postmasters and their families have gone through cannot be overstated. While nothing will make up for the years of pain they faced after this appalling injustice, I hope this initial step provides a measure of comfort.”

Currently there are a total of 59 former Postmasters whose convictions have been overturned, with many more likely to emerge in the coming months.  Final settlements are likely to cost the Government tens of millions of pounds.

This latest development provides more reasons why there should be full accountability for those responsible for these injustices especially as the taxpayer will be picking up the bill for this terrible miscarriage of justice.

Sir Wyn Williams Horizon Inquiry 

We continue to engage with Sir Wyn Williams’ inquiry into the Horizon scandal and the union has now applied for “Core Participant” status for this inquiry which means an entity with a significant interest.  A Core Participant will:

  • be provided with disclosure of evidence which the Chair considers is relevant to their participation in the Inquiry…
  • have the opportunity to make opening and closing statements via their recognised legal representatives…
  • be able to suggest lines of questioning at oral hearings via Counsel to the Inquiry
  • be able to apply through their recognised legal representatives to the Chair to ask questions of witnesses during a hearing
  • be provided with advance copies of the Inquiry’s reports (including the final report) prior to publication.

A number of news articles were published yesterday in relation to this development including the following:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57928397

https://www.postofficetrial.com/2021/07/government-to-make-interim-payments-of.html

https://news.sky.com/story/horizon-it-scandal-govt-reveals-compensation-for-cleared-sub-postmasters-12361373

In conclusion, whilst this news has been cautiously welcomed by those who have been waiting for many years for justice, this is just an initial step and the victims of this scandal must be fully compensated without further delay.  Indeed, Neil Hudgell, of Hudgell solicitors who represented many of the Postmasters whose convictions have been overturned said yesterday:

“This cannot be a delaying gesture though. This is money to which these clients are entitled. With regards to how final settlements are agreed, we want them to come to the table and be meaningful in what they put forward”.

Further developments will be reported.

Yours sincerely

Andy Furey

Assistant Secretary

Attachment LTB 305/21 – Post Office – Horizon Scandal – Former Postmasters to Receive Interim Compensation Payments of up to £100k

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