Royal Mail and CWU reach agreement

CWU Royal MailRoyal Mail have agreed in principle what they call “a ground-breaking new agreement” including a three-year pay offer with the CWU. The Agreement, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, includes legally-binding terms covering industrial stability and employee protections.

This is the first time Royal Mail and the CWU have entered into an agreement of this type containing legally-binding provisions. It represents a joint commitment to radically improve industrial relations and create a can-do culture in the interests of customers, employees and the company.

Royal Mail and CWU have committed to create an Agenda for Growth, building partnership and participation across the company. Both parties will work together to develop and implement business strategies, respond to competitive challenges and develop new approaches to improve efficiency. There will also be joint Royal Mail/CWU training programmes to deliver industrial stability.

The CWU say that “This is a good deal for the company and customers as well as for employees, but investors should be clear that this agreement commits them to growth and there will be no tolerance to a race to the bottom on services and jobs”

They agreed to a pay deal for three years that amounts to a 9.06% compound increase over the three years to 2016 as well as legal protections for employees. Some of the biggest commitments include an assurance that Royal Mail will not outsource, sell or transfer any part of its business and will remain an end-to-end service provider and not franchise any part of its business or make any employee self-employed.

The Agreement is subject to approval by the Royal Mail Board. The agreement will also be placed before CWU members for acceptance in January 2014 in a single member postal ballot, with the CWU recommending acceptance. The CWU has also confirmed to Royal Mail that there will be no disruption through industrial action during the ratification process of the Agreement, including the whole of the Christmas trading period.

This really is good news. It’s been four years since the last round of Royal Mail strikes, and now it looks like the next few years at least will bring stability to the country’s mail service with no strikes for the foreseeable future, if ever.

In a letter to it’s members the CWU said “The positioning of the legal protections is fair to both parties. It means they are not due to end at any given time, but neither are they an open ended commitment, something which no business will ever sign up to”, adding “The first planned review is January 2019”.

Whilst this isn’t a cast iron guarantee that we’ll never see postal strikes again, it is a new dawn for CWU/Royal Mail relationships and looks like both parties are ready to work together to grow the newly privatised company.