30th October 2022 – Planned strike action originally planned for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 10th November, has now been called off, following a legal challenge from Royal Mail Group.
The strike cancellations affect all strike action until Saturday 12 November, when the industrial action is set to recommence. CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “We recognise the deep frustration felt by many members over this decision.”
There is now two weeks before the next strike action. This allows for a concentrated period of negotiations at ACAS where both parties should focus on resolving these disputes. We are meeting at ACAS today and have informed Royal Mail our negotiators are prepared for intensive talks to take place over the next ten days. Royal Mail has also confirmed they will commit to do likewise.
The Postal Executive will be meeting this week to consider a further programme of strike action for the remainder of November and up to Christmas.
The next Royal Mail strike action, involving all CWU workers, will go ahead as planned on Monday 28 November.
24th October 2022 – Royal Mail Group: National Disputes – Updates – Agreement to engage with ACAS.
Following an invitation from ACAS, we can now confirm that the CWU and Royal Mail have agreed to engage with ACAS facilitation in an attempt to resolve our current disputes on pay and change.
Below is a Joint Statement that has been agreed by all parties.
ACAS Facilitation: Pay and Change Disputes
Following an invitation from ACAS, Royal Mail and CWU have agreed to jointly engage with ACAS facilitation in an attempt to resolve the current disputes on Pay and Change. There is a commitment on both sides to reach a resolution however we all acknowledge there are significant difficulties to overcome.
An opening session will now take place on Tuesday 25th October with the objective to reach an agreed approach for further facilitated talks.
We can also confirm that there is no requirement on the union to stand down strike action as part of the ACAS process and the strike on Tuesday 25th October will go ahead as planned.
The spirit, strength and resolve of our members was once again on display last Thursday and it’s crucial that picket line activity is again very active tomorrow, whilst observing the legal code of practice.
Further information will be provides to Branches, Reps and members in due course.
27th September 2022 – Royal Mail Group: Pay and Change Disputes – Programme of Strike Action.
Members are advised that following an all-day Postal Executive meeting, along with a consultative meeting of our Senior Field Officials, the following programme of strike action has been endorsed and is being announced. The programme of action below is specifically designed as a serious statement of intent with the clear purpose of bringing Royal Mail Group to the bargaining table to negotiate a resolution to both disputes.
It should also be noted that only last Thursday 22nd September, Royal Mail Group served notice on the Union to cease a number of major agreements, including legal protections, which was extremely provocative.
October – National Action – all Members Across all Functions
- 24 hours from 04:00 Thursday 13th October into Friday 14th October (Pay)
- 24 hours from 04:00 Thursday 20th October into Friday 21st October (Change)
- 24 hours from 04:00 from Tuesday 25th October into Wednesday 26th October (Change)
November – Functional Action (with the Exception of a Single Day’s National Action)
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Wednesday 2nd November into Thursday 3rd November = All Network
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Thursday 3rd November into Friday 4th November = All Processing, Area Distribution, International, Collections, Admin and MDEC
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Friday 4th November into Saturday 5th November = All Deliveries
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Tuesday 8th November into Wednesday 9th November = All Network
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Wednesday 9th November into Thursday 10th November = Processing, Area Distribution, International, Collections, Admin and MDEC
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Thursday 10th November into Friday 11th November = All Deliveries
- 24 hours from 04:00 Monday 14th November into Tuesday 15th November = All Network
- 24 hours from 04:00 Tuesday 15th November into Wednesday 16th November = Processing, Area Distribution, International, Collections, Admin and MDEC
- 24 hours from 04:00 Wednesday 16th November into Thursday 17th November = All Deliveries.
Black Friday week
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Wednesday 23rd November into Thursday 24th November = All Network
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Thursday 24th November into Friday 25th November = All Processing, Area Distribution, Collections, International, Admin and MDEC
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Friday 25th November into Saturday 26th November = All Deliveries
- 24 hours all out on Cyber Monday 28th November into Tuesday 29th November = Everyone
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Wednesday 30th November into Thursday 1st December = All Network
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Thursday 1st December into Friday 2nd December = All Processing, Area Distribution, Collections, International, Admin and MDEC
- 24 hours from 04:00 on Friday 2nd December into Saturday 3rd December = All Deliveries.
Parcelforce, Fleet and Engineers will be aligned to the most appropriate functional dates following consultation between the Officers and the Senior Reps.
The Postal Executive is certain that all members will understand this is a serious escalation of the dispute and this decision has not been taken lightly. However, Royal Mail Group has steadfastly refused to enter into meaningful negotiations for many months now and they have imposed an insulting 2% pay increase. Aligned to this is the recent removal of all key protections and safeguards for our members. As a consequence, the Postal Executive felt there was a need for a very strong programme of action to be announced.
We would like to thank our members for their continued loyalty and support which ultimately will bring about a settlement to these disputes.
5th September 2022 – Potential Takeover of Royal Mail Group.
The union has now written to the Secretary of State for BEIS seeking an urgent meeting and raising major concerns over a potential takeover bid of the Royal Mail Group by VESA Equity Investment Group.
We believe this may well explain the actions of the company over the last six months and their dishonesty was exposed in the media last week, when they were unable to give a straight answer to the questions being asked about this development.
We also believe that this this development will have a major bearing on our ability to resolve our current disputes and it is essential that company come clean on what is really going on in the background.
A copy of our letter to the Secretary of State can be seen here.
Given the seriousness of the situation, we are also asking reps and members to raise the matter directly with your local and area managers, demanding answers to what has been happening.
It cannot be a coincidence that when we raised this with the Chair and CEO of the company in our letter of the 24th August – that less than 48 hours later – the Government and Royal Mail issued statements to the City of London confirming that the proposed bid was now subject to a national security investigation by the Government.
You will see from the content of the letter that the union is asking serious questions about the honesty, transparency and integrity of the Royal Mail Group, including the legitimacy of their actions and whether there are financial incentives involved.
We will also ensure that the letter is reissued tomorrow to the new Secretary of State for BEIS, once this is confirmed by the new Prime Minister.
We will advise you on further developments on this issue and any discussions with Royal Mail in due course.
26th August 2022 – Royal Mail Group – Strike Action.
Our Royal Mail members have had an unagreed 2 per cent pay deal imposed on them.
This is at a time when RPI inflation is currently running at 11.8 per cent and when Royal Mail has announced Group profits of £758 million and when the company is paying out many millions to private shareholders.
In a national strike ballot over pay, our Royal Mail members voted by a 97.6 per cent majority to take action.
This action will take place on Friday 26th and Wednesday 31st August and then Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September.
Read More here
19th July 2022 – Royal Mail Group – Dispute Update and Pay Ballot Result.
On Tuesday 19th July 2022, a National Briefing will be held to provide Branches with an update on the latest position in regards to our dispute with Royal Mail Group and to announce the result of the ballot on pay. From 16:00 the Briefing will become a Press Conference as we prepare to announce the pay ballot result.
Latest : 97.6% vote for Industrial Action on a 77% turnout on Royal Mail Group Ballot.
Full Results of the Ballot.
Number of individuals who were entitled to vote in the ballot – 113,330
Number of votes cast in the ballot – 87,315
Votes cast in the ballot as a % of individuals who were entitled to vote – 77.0%
Question: Are you prepared to take part in strike action?
Number of spoilt or otherwise invalid voting papers returned – 44
Result of Voting
Yes – 85,184 – 97.6%
No – 2,087 – 2.4%
Further information regarding the next steps of the dispute will be circulated by the DGS (Postal) in due course.
27th June 2022 – Biggest Potential Strike of Summer on the cards as Postal Workers send notice over “UNJUST AND UNSUSTAINABLE” Treatment.
A strike of over 115,000 workers moves closer to becoming reality, as the Communication Workers Union (CWU) serve Royal Mail with an industrial action balloting notice.
The union served the notice today (21st June). Ballot papers will be dispatched on Tuesday 28th June, and the result will be known on 19th July.
The decision came after delegates at the union’s April annual conference voted to declare the beginning of a national dispute in early May if a “straight, no strings pay increase” failed to materialise.
Further tensions among the workforce grew after the union’s Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger was told with little warning senior Royal Mail managers last week that Royal Mail Group intended to imposing a 2% pay rise by executive action.
This was despite previous agreements that no immediate executive action would be taken over pay. In an economic climate where inflation is set to soar to 11.1% by the year’s end, this would mean a real-terms wage cut of approximately 9% for Royal Mail employees.
Should workers vote Yes to strike action, it could be the biggest industrial action taken by workers this summer.
CWU Deputy General Secretary (Postal) Terry Pullinger said: “Throughout this entire dispute, Royal Mail management have conducted themselves insultingly and disrespectfully to key workers. “Their conduct, and particularly the imposition of such an aggressive pay offer, has eroded trust among loyal employees.
“Nobody wants to be in this situation, but our members are heroes. “We will defend ourselves if provoked – and we are convinced we will receive our biggest ever Yes vote for action.”
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “Our members have been treated in a completely undignified manner by the people they make incredible profits for. “Our members kept this country connected throughout our country’s greatest crisis since World War Two, and many paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Now, they are being told there’s nothing for them, and they have to accept having less while the mega profits of bosses come first. “The state of affairs is unjust and unsustainable, and I have no doubt that our 115,000 members will stand strong against it and deliver a historic vote for action.”
To add insult to injury – Royal Mail tells cleaners: ‘No pay rise for you!’
Hundreds of workers who clean Royal Mail premises around the UK have been told they will receive no cost-of-living pay rise in this financial year if they were awarded a Real Living Wage (RLW) adjustment in April, directly contradicting a promise by the business not to link the two.
Coming out of talks with the senior leadership of Royal Mail’s Property and Facilities Solutions (P&FS) division today, CWU national officer Mark Baulch said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked. They made a formal commitment back in March, in writing and fully documented, that the RLW uplift would be applied outside of the formal pay talks and ‘without prejudice’ to the 2022/23 annual pay negotiations.
“Here we are, just over three months later and yet another Royal Mail promise has been wilfully broken – it’s an absolute disgrace. How can we have any confidence in these talks when they give their word only to break it in such a short time.” Read More here
3rd February – ROYAL MAIL CONSULTATIVE BALLOT – RMG & CWU Key Principles Framework Agreement (The Pathway To Change) – BALLOT RESULTS.
Please see below the result for the above named ballot.
|Number of eligible voters||112,595|
|Votes cast by post:||38,671|
|Votes cast online:||20,384|
|Total number of votes cast:||59,055|
|Number of votes found to be invalid:||24|
|Total number of valid votes to be counted:||59,031|
This emphatic ‘Yes’ vote marks the end of an extremely testing two-year dispute with Royal Mail Group and we would like to place on record our sincere thanks to all of our Representatives and members for the invaluable contribution they have made to society as key workers but also for their outstanding and unflinching solidarity to each other and their union.
This collective strength has enabled us to defeat an ideology all too present in society today, where greed and profit is more important than service and culture. We now have an agreement that offers hope, growth, job security and the protection of a wonderful public service.
The race to the bottom, mass job losses and declining business strategy has been defeated and we now have a Royal Mail Group leadership that totally support this agreement and are committed to working with the CWU to redesign and grow this great public service.
Embracing change and creating a positive and mature mutual interest culture is at the heart of this agreement. Our members are the most trusted provider on the door step, customers have total confidence in their postal worker and we are and always have been an essential service.
This past year has proven beyond doubt the vital role postal workers have in society, from Covid test kits, vaccination appointments and keeping every business, government service and household connected, our members have delivered against the greatest odds.
- We have always known the value of the service our members provide to society.
- We know what a modern universal service looks like.
- We know what a decent job looks like.
- We know what the value of job security is for our members and their families.
We have fought for so long for a vision of the future and the right to shape it, this agreement gives us the opportunity to do that.
There is now a massive job ahead of us to deploy the terms of the agreement and ensure the mutual benefits are achieved – let’s start that work now.
22nd December – RMG & CWU Key Principles Framework Agreement (The Pathway To Change)
We are pleased to announce that at its meeting yesterday today, the Postal Executive unanimously endorsed the negotiators’ agreement reached with the Royal Mail Group on Friday 18th December 2020 last Friday.
This agreement marks the end of our two year dispute with Royal Mail Group and brings closure to one of the most adversarial periods of our history. It builds upon and does not replace our previous agreements including the spirit and intent of the 2018 Four Pillars Agreement. It reflects and re-positions a joint philosophical approach to the future based on growth and not decline, opportunity and optimism, and a re-designed Royal Mail Group, importantly including Parcelforce, thriving in the modern day.
It has been negotiated during the most unpredictable circumstances in a generation, with Royal Mail Group predicting between a £400 – £800m loss this year and 10,000 to 14,000 job losses over the next three years. We have seen businesses closing, jobs being lost, workers’ terms and conditions being attached attacked and record numbers of unemployment unemployed.
However, as the year has gone on the circumstances and opportunities for RMG have changed. Those circumstances have massively advanced the change anticipated in our previous agreements in parcel growth which has placed huge pressure on our current design and our members. It has illustrated the challenge going forward and the real need to change and expand our operations to seize the opportunity and determine a positive future out of adversity, protect this great public service and our member’s’ employment, standard of living and retirement security.
Be in no doubt this agreement could not have been achieved without the amazing support of our members, the dedication and work of our Representatives at all levels, and the astonishing human effort by postal workers keeping the country connected during this pandemic.
We now need a sustained period of pragmatic progress and industrial peace and we must be clear with our members that change carried out at pace and in line with this and our other agreements is the route to a positive future.
The Agreement – Read more »
18th September 2020 – Latest News
The latest news with regard to the Royal Mail can be found at the CWU Facebook pages.
3rd June 2020 – Temporary USO Changes – Cessation Monday 8th June 2020
Branches will be aware that the temporary changes to USO Deliveries on a Saturday were due to cease no later than Saturday 13th June 2020, but that the changes were subject to review.
On receipt of consistent negative feedback from the field on the impact of the cessation of Saturday letter deliveries on the operation, the union has made further representations on our view that normal USO deliveries should be resumed as a matter of urgency.
During discussions today, Royal Mail has confirmed that following consultation with the Regulator, the current temporary arrangement will cease one week early with normal USO deliveries and agreed duty arrangements resuming from Monday 8th June 2020.
We would request that Branches and Representatives engage to ensure that any temporary arrangements are removed and agreed duty and attendance patterns are restored in time for the resumption of normal USO deliveries. For the avoidance of doubt Saturday 6th June 2020 will be the last day of the temporary arrangement to cease Saturday USO letter deliveries.
1st May 2020 -Changes to the USO
Following Royal Mail’s announcement earlier this week that it was changing the USO for 3 months, there have been a number of very significant developments, including separate conversations with the Government and Ofcom and meetings with Royal Mail’s CEO Rico Back.
As a result, we have secured correspondence from the Government, Ofcom and the Chief Executive of Royal Mail, confirming that the change to the USO is temporary.
Furthermore, you will see from the Chief Executive’s letter that Royal Mail have stepped back from all executive action and the temporary change will now be for six weeks, reviewed on a fortnightly basis, taking into account circumstances relating to the pandemic.
The letter from Rico Back also makes it clear that any duty changes will be voluntary, that there will be no job losses, no notice will be served on Scheduled Attendance and that the IR Framework is fully restored and will be utilised, where necessary.
On the basis of the correspondence from the Chief Executive, we can confirm that the Postal Executive has unanimously agreed that we will not be serving notice for industrial action relating to this six week temporary relaxation of the USO. Therefore, we are asking all CWU Representatives to engage positively in local discussions.
The company has also confirmed that they are prepared to meet with us next week to discuss a framework for talks to resolve our current dispute.
Further information from the CWU Postal National Officers dealing with the operational situation will be issued in due course.
In the meantime, we want to thank our Branches, Representatives and members, for the support you have given in ensuring that these crucial issue relating to the USO and our members’ jobs, has for the immediate future been satisfactorily resolved.
29th April 2020 – Royal Mail USO/Executive Action
This is an update to Branches, Representatives and members on the union’s response to the announcement made yesterday by Royal Mail Group regarding the company’s executive decision to suspend Saturday letter deliveries and to impose un-agreed changes to the current operational network and agreed duty structures.
By their actions Royal Mail has derecognised the union and disrespected our members and the customers we serve. They are refusing to adhere to any of our agreements, be they at local or national level.
It is quite clear that this current managerial leadership has no moral compass and has dragged standards of behaviour and industrial relations to an all-time low. Our members have lost full confidence and trust in these people and this planned national executive action is a despicable attempt to use a public health crisis to drive through long-term and highly damaging change.
The changes they advocate go to the very heart of our dispute and our ability to protect the 6 day USO, our members’ jobs and this great public service. We stepped back from our dispute to do the right thing for our nation during this pandemic and Royal Mail Group agreed to do the same but they are now breaking that agreement.
The timing of their action was also in our opinion deliberately planned to coincide with the CWU National Postal Workers day, so when the rest of the nation, including politicians from all parties, were showing their gratitude for our members and this excellent public service, RMG were rewarding them for their efforts with this highly damaging imposition and the very real potential of 20,000 job losses.
Against this backdrop the Postal Executive, following consultation with our Senior Field Officials earlier today, has agreed the following political and industrial response:
- The union will explore with immediate effect and where possible utilise all legal options available to mount a legal challenge against the actions of the company, including if possible a challenge on the reduction of the USO being an unlawful act.
- In line with the relevant legislation it is the union’s intention to draw up the appropriate notices to send to Royal Mail within the legal timeframe that will result in us calling upon our members in Royal Mail to take industrial action in line with the ballot result we announced on 17th March 2020.
- With immediate effect Representatives and members should not cooperate or give any local agreement to any deployment of management’s plan.
- In defiance of the company’s unilateral action, all members should continue to adhere to their currently agreed duty/attendance arrangements.
- The union will issue further guidance on all aspects of H&S standards and compliance with HMG guidance relating to social distancing/PPE within the workplace, the legal obligations of the employer to comply with them as well as the legal requirement for the employer to consult the recognised Trade Union on changes in the workplace which have health and safety implications.
- The DGS(P) Department in conjunction with the General Secretary, Postal National Officers and the Head of Communications will develop a high profile communications strategy, including as a priority an individual letter to all postal members that sets out and exposes in detail the actions of the company and reaffirms the CWU commitment to defend its members, their terms and conditions and the public postal service. The union via the office of the General Secretary will continue to explore all political avenues in challenging Ofcom and the Government.
Any enquiries in relation to the content of the above should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
16th April 2020 – CWU PROPOSAL, COVID-19 ESCALATING ISSUES & RESOLVING OUR DISPUTE
CWU Proposal & COVID-19 Escalating Issues.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Branches will be aware that the CWU sent an open letter to the business on 30th March outlining a progressive strategy and a statement of proposals that would have ensured that the company was acting in line with its ‘key worker’ status and that the threat of the virus to our members was minimised as much as possible.
The statement was designed to get ahead of the game and the inevitable consequences arising from the escalation of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately it would seem that Rico Back, CEO, took offence at the content of the union’s policy and decided to disengage from further dialogue. However, on 7th April Rico Back reengaged with the CWU on a call that had originally been arranged with Sally Ashford, Chief HR Officer, and Achim Dunnwald, Chief Transformation & Strategy Officer. During the call it was agreed that going forward regular, constructive dialogue would take place between myself and Sally Ashford to seek to deal with and resolve a number of outstanding issues causing major concerns for our members.
Whilst the aforementioned statement has certainly helped to build pressure on the business in terms of PPE provision, the CWU are well aware that social distancing problems still exist in many locations. Clearly the size and location of some units is a factor in this and we believe the proposals contained in our statement would have helped reduce such cases.
We are also aware that there are still a number of outstanding big ticket issues that have to be resolved, including the prioritisation of mail and saving lives, and matters that have been highlighted in feedback the Postal Executive has received from Branches and Divisions. Matters such as lack of flexibility around annual leave, measures for those over 65 years of age and HR policies needed to address full pay for those who are taking care of dependants.
In light of this I have written to Sally Ashford (attached) with the request that the business reconsider our proposal of 30th March and commence dialogue with the union to mitigate the escalation of issues during the COVID-19 crisis and find mutual interest solutions. In addition to this, Carl Maden, Acting Assistant Secretary, continues to work tirelessly to resolve issues relating to sick pay and annual leave.
As I have previously stated, this is an extremely difficult time for our members and Royal Mail Group must be held to task. Whilst talks will be difficult, the escalation process will at least provide another avenue to challenge the company.
Resolving our Dispute.
Although the current Coronavirus pandemic and management’s failure to respond to CWU proposed solutions has naturally taken centre stage recently, it is vital that we do not lose sight of the fact that we are still in dispute nationally. Since the result of the national ballot(s) on 17th March 2020, it is worth recognising that the business has continued to make reference to their desire to resolve the issues that remain in dispute.
Equally there is an outstanding pay rise to be concluded that was due on 1st April 2020. Branches will recall that during our ballots and prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the company unilaterally made an offer of a 6% pay rise over three years directly to the frontline which was unacceptable and rejected by us with a reminder to the business that the 2020 pay settlement is separate from our “honouring the Four Pillars” dispute (as reported in LTB 92/20). RMG’s actions were undoubtedly aimed at confusing the issues in dispute, potentially paving the way for another legal challenge and encouraging members to not support the ballot.
Against that backdrop I have now written to Achim Dunnwald (attached) with the offer of commencing dialogue on the issues in dispute and matters of reward. Branches will note that I have asked the business to provide its views on how the current crisis may impact upon its business plan and the timescales contained therein.
Additionally, in recognition of the sterling work that our members have performed and their continued commitment during this crisis, I have asked for an above inflation pay rise on all aspects of pay to be implemented from 1st April 2020, as well as a one-off payment to recognise the key worker status of our members. It should be noted however that crucially these are separate to the outstanding issues and Shorter Working Week relating to the 2019 pay award.
Colleagues will no doubt recognise that the approach suggested in my letter, including the request to provide an extension to our ballot, will provide the best foundation at this moment in time to progress dispute resolution talks.
In closing I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Representatives, at all levels of this union, for the amazing job they are doing, and please stay safe.
Any enquiries in relation to this should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department.
6th April 2020 – 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.
1st April 2020 – ‘Put workers’ safety and essential service first’ demands CWU
CWU leaders are urging Royal Mail to change the nature of the service during this national emergency, with the strongest possible focus on essential deliveries across the country – while ensuring the safety of all postal workers.
Speaking to the union’s Royal Mail members yesterday evening, our general secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary postal (DGSP) Terry Pullinger set out a robust agenda ahead of top-level talks with the business.
During the 90-minute live YouTube/Facebook broadcast, which was viewed by tens of thousands of people from all over the UK, Dave and Terry assured our hard-working postmen and women that the union is “thinking of you and your families all the time.”
Dave Ward insisted: “We don’t want a row with the company, we want to work with the company and with the Government and for the country.
“And we want to do that in a way that really does help the country.”
But on safety, the CWU’s message to members is “very, very clear,” he continued, asking the UK’s postal workers: “Have you got right PPE in place, gloves, sanitisers and is social distancing strictly enforced in your office?”
If the answer to this question is “no,” then the general secretary’s advice was crystal clear – “You should not be working and we will back you.”
Dave and Terry are presenting the union’s comprehensive crisis-working plan to the business, calling for a suspension of all non-essential D2D (unaddressed mails) delivery, a prioritisation of medical equipment and services to the vulnerable, as well as alternating individuals’ working days to reduce numbers in the workplace at the same time.
“At times like this, whether in two world wars or massively adverse weather, our postal services have always sought to operate and step up to that challenge,” said our DGSP.
“And this should be a national service working through a national crisis – but our members are not fodder and they will not be thrown under the bus.”
Taking all vulnerable workers out of the workplace, allowing carers to care for family members if they need to, reducing members’ working week, and focussing on public service and community assistance must be the way forward for Royal Mail for as long as this unprecedented situation continues, the union insists.
“We’ve sat down and thought how we can keep national service going and also protect members and protect lives,” Terry explained.
On a frightening day for the nation, with the largest daily increase in coronavirus fatalities since the crisis began, our deputy general secretary pointed out that many of our members are “truly scared and worried” and that they “absolutely have to have the right protections.”
He explained the reasoning behind the call for a reduced working week for postmen and women, highlighting the reality that, “in many of our buildings, it’s impossible to keep the same amount of people and still work safely and so we need to halve the amount of people coming in on one day.
“Deliver half the mail on one day and then all the vehicles and equipment and work can be cleaned for the others coming in the next day.
“In every other sphere of society there are radical decisions and strategies being put in place – now we’re setting out these bold and radical proposals to Royal Mail.
After our general secretary and DGSP set out the union’s “safety and people first” strategy, they fielded a wide variety of questions from worried frontline workers, praising their efforts, promising full support if they feel unsafe at work and warning those at the top of Royal Mail that they must act urgently.
Putting the questions to our most senior national officers, CWU head of communications Chris Webb took a collection of enquiries from different parts of the country, including delivery offices where workers had refused to work unsafely, individuals claiming unfair treatment by the company of their illnesses and complaints about shortfalls in supply of protective equipment.
Others expressed strong support for the union’s tough stance and praised the hard work of Dave and Terry as well as their local CWU reps.
In response, both Dave and Terry emphasised that if members feel unsafe, if they are not being issued the appropriate protections or if their unit is not practising social distancing, then they have every right, under the law, to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.
And issues around unfair treatment of those off work through illness will be taken up at the highest level at the meeting, they pledged.
In their concluding statements, our general secretary and DGSP both paid moving tributes to our CWU frontline reps in particular, as well as to all members working and serving the nation during this extremely difficult crisis period.
Calling for an “almost military strategic” approach to the current situation, Terry said: “If the company responds positively, we will work with that, but if the company doesn’t respond positively, there will be a clash and a growing clash.”
And Dave said:
“No-one can predict what the outcome will be. It will test you, your families, your workmates and this union to the limit.
“We are doing our best to support you at this time and I hope you take confidence from how we’ve answered your questions.”
26th March 2020 – Vital update on coronavirus and the dispute for all Royal Mail Group members.
We are writing to all CWU members to update you on the Coronavirus crisis and meetings that have taken place with the Chief Executive, Rico Back, and his senior management team, since we announced our ballot result last week.
The Coronavirus Crisis
CWU members across the country are in contact with the union at all levels expressing their major concerns and anxiety about whether or not it is safe to continue working during the Coronavirus crisis.
We want you to know that we could not have taken a stronger position with Royal Mail over social distancing at work and the lack of personal protective equipment for frontline workers.
The Chief Executive and Royal Mail’s senior management team agreed with the union last week, that Royal Mail must enforce Government and UK Public Health advice to the letter. However, we recognise that what is being said at national level by the company is not the reality in far too many offices on the ground. We also acknowledge that Government advice and the advice of the UK Public Health Authorities, has not been clear enough and is creating confusion for workers across the country, most notably for key workers, including those who work in the NHS. In the absence of any conclusive Government or medical advice, the CWU issued at the start of this week, the strongest advice we can to protect our members. For the purpose of complete clarity this advice is set out again below:-
“If any CWU member does not feel safe at work through lack of social distancing or personal protective equipment, they should not work. We will support any individual member or office that takes this position. This is not a call for workers to take unofficial industrial action, but it is a clear statement on the grounds of health and safety that we will support our members.”
The truth is, the situation is different across the country and we are not in a position to give a blanket instruction. This would be wrong and not in the interests of our members and the sustainability of your jobs and the business.
Furthermore, the country’s medical professionals are not giving conclusive medical advice on how the virus spreads and whether or not it’s safe to work. Therefore, the position the union has taken is the right one at this juncture. We are also asking our representatives at all levels to issue the above mentioned advice.
We can also advise that we are pressing the company to prioritise services as sick absence and self-isolation increases. We have told Royal Mail that it is wrong for them to be delivering door to door items and continuing with absorption during the crisis. We expect the company to move to our position on these points in the next day or so.
Update on our dispute
Since we announced our ballot result last Tuesday, we have had three meetings with the Chief Executive and the senior management team. These meetings have prioritised the Coronavirus crisis, but we have also had discussions on resolving our dispute and our offer for Royal Mail to act as an additional Emergency Service.
The position we have reached to date on the dispute, is as follows:-
• The company has confirmed that they will cease all executive action that had been announced but not yet deployed.
• The company has confirmed that their 2024 Strategy Plan for the future is on hold and that they are now prioritising how we deal with the Coronavirus crisis.
• The company has confirmed their plan to TUPE Parcelforce members into a separate company has now been put on hold.
• The company has confirmed that they are willing to agree a process for talks to resolve all issues in dispute.
The above mentioned should be seen as good progress, although the union want the company to go further on reviewing executive action that has already taken place and we will hold them to the positions above and also press for an extension to our ballot. However, we do recognise that at the moment contingency planning for the Coronavirus crisis will take precedence in our day to day operations.
We want to make it clear that we remain in dispute with the company but we recognise that dealing with the Coronavirus crisis, protecting our members’ health and safety and addressing the sustainability of jobs and the business, must be the priority. We have set up regular meetings at national and divisional level to deal with all these issues and we are posting regular updates on Facebook and we will be utilising other communications channels to keep our members informed.
CWU offer to utilise Royal Mail as an additional Emergency Service
We are firmly of the view that subject to prioritising the health and safety of our members at work and the advice we have issued in this letter, it continues to be right for the union to pursue our offer of utilising our members and Royal Mail as an additional Emergency Service.
We continue to press the company to make a public statement on this and we are due to meet a Government Minister on Monday to discuss all the issues contained in this letter. As well as wanting to help the country, our offer is part of a strategy to sustain our members’ jobs and the business in the future. We have long believed that Royal Mail should be freeing up our members and empowering them to be part of developing the future with local to local services, in addition to providing daily deliveries through the Universal Service Obligation. In many ways this goes to the heart of our current dispute with the employer.
Without wishing to score political points during these unprecedented times, we should all be concerned that the Government and Royal Mail’s failure to seriously pick up our offer thus far, whilst at the same time allowing competitors like Amazon and Uber to take precedence, does not bode well for the future.
It is absolutely right that postal workers across the UK were given key worker status. We now need to build on this and we are asking our representatives and members to work with their local managers and communities to push and enact our offer wherever possible. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss this with the company and the Government and we anticipate that there may be some Government contracts being offered to Royal Mail, specifically relating to urgent work needed to deal with the current crisis.
We will keep you informed of developments on all these issues and we thank you for your continued support.
Stay safe and strong, these are extraordinary times and the union will continue to do what’s right for our members and your families.
17th March 2020 – Latest Royal Mail Dispute Information.
|LTB 134/20 – Royal Mail Group Dispute |
16th March 2020
TO: ALL BRANCHES
ROYAL MAIL GROUP DISPUTE
Following the result of our industrial action ballot, conveyed in LTB’s earlier today, the purpose of this LTB is to update Branches on developments in the dispute and explain how we must now prioritise the Coronavirus crisis, which is unfortunately having a major impact on our members, the country and the business.
In the last week there has been a significant exchange of correspondence between the Union, the Chief Executive and the Chair of the Royal Mail Group Board.
This culminated in the union making a formal proposal to the company last Friday, addressing the Coronavirus pandemic, all Royal Mail executive action, any potential for imminent industrial action and a process for talks to resolve the dispute.
It is clear that the country faces unprecedented times and as the Coronavirus crisis deepens and the government restrictions on self-isolation and social-distancing increase, it’s crucial that the union places this at the forefront of our considerations.
Therefore, we have made it clear to the company that we must now jointly prioritise the health and safety of our members, consider how we can help the country by utilising the infrastructure and daily reach of Royal Mail to play an expanded social role and discuss the sustainability of the business.
We have also made it equally clear that the company must immediately cease all executive action and jointly resolve any changes that have already been imposed in workplaces.
We are meeting Royal Mail tomorrow the 18th March and we will advise Branches of developments in due course. At this juncture, the Postal Executive has agreed that it is not appropriate to call any industrial action.
Please convey the full content of this LTB to our members in all workplaces.
Dave Ward General Secretary
Terry Pullinger Deputy General Secretary (P)
ROYAL MAIL GROUP NATIONAL BALLOT – VOTE YES
From today ballot papers will land at the home addresses of all Royal Mail and Parcelforce members.
When your post arrives at home today we would urge you to use your vote and to vote YES. There has never been a more critical time to support your union. We have put together some ballot day videos for you to enjoy;
Marathon Facebook Live session
CWU Dispute video
Dave Ward General Secretary final message
Terry Pullinger Deputy General Secretary (Postal) final message
Finally, tomorrow (5th March) is National Get The Vote Out Day. We urge every single office in the UK to
1. Hold a gate meeting and
2. WhatsApp us a silent video to 07583725644 – here is an example of the type of video we want
The time is now – vote YES