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CWU Letter to Branches calls for strike action ballot

By Chris Dawson August 23, 2019 - 1:50 pm

There’s trouble brewing between Royal Mail and the CWU which could lead to industrial action this Christmas. A CWU letter to branches has gone out setting out plans for over 100,000 Royal Mail staff to be balloted for possible strike action.

A Royal Mail strike is the last thing that ecommerce merchants want. Too many are forced to use Royal Mail for shipping small lightweight items and many more opt for Royal Mail due to convenience and price. At Christmas, if Royal Mail don’t perform due to strike action, the regular courier alternatives simply don’t have the capacity to deliver every parcel that Royal Mail would have delivered.

The CWU are accusing Royal Mail on multiple fronts across the Royal Mail and Parcelforce businesses, saying that after just a year Rico Back isn’t honouring the Four Pillars Agreement. The CWU say that Royal Mail want to want to review and remove the legal guarantees Posties got when Royal Mail was privatised and are refusing to commit to protecting the universal service obligation which OfCom intend to review next year.

On the plus side, the CWU have indicated that they are open to further negotiation with the possible of mediation, which settled the grievances without strike action last time around.

CWU Grievances

The CWU assert that Royal Mail’s decision to break the Agenda for Growth by deciding to set up a separate profit and loss company for parcelforce from October and TUPE parcelforce members into this company is just the start of Rico Back’s strategy to shrink the company.

The CWU assert that Royal Mail want to:

  1. Introduce their separation of larger parcels from mail centres , RDCs and circa 1000 delivery offices which will lead to thousands of jobs losses.
  2. In addition in the circa 300 LAT units they want to collapse one walk in every six to become a late driver delivering larger parcels and their walk will be absorbed by the remaining five duties.
  3. Royal Mail want to use PDA’s outdoor to rescouce and perform revisions.
  4. Royal Mail want to roll out further Automated Hours Data Capture ( automating signing in and out )and to reduce overtime and they have suggested linking it to pay roll.
  5. Royal Mail want to roll out Resource Scheduler which creates different duty sets and tasks for each office as it is linked to traffic , PSP and PDA’s actuals. At the moment Royal Mail and the company who supply the software still have not managed to get the system to work. However if they do it is a game changer and designed to remove the CWU from involvement in resourcing or revisions.
  6. They want 20 thousand jobs losses with London and other cities with mostly full time jobs under the most attack.
  7. They want each office to improve their efficiency by around 5 percent in order for them to agree the next hour off the shorter working week.
  8. They want 30 minute flexibility on every duty 6 days per week.
  9. Royal Mail’s obsession of reducing costs is seeing more offices being attacked and causing walks outs. We are seeing a rise in conduct cases and medical retirements and cases against CWUs reps. Royal Mail seem to not want to improve the culture in the workplace.

      Royal Mail response to CWU Letter to Branches

      “We have not received formal notification of a ballot from CWU. We are disappointed that they have set out a ballot timetable while discussions are ongoing.

      We are committed to open and constructive engagement with the CWU. We all want a successful and sustainable company that provides good quality jobs, fairness in workloads, and continues delivering the Universal Service.”
      – Shane O’Riordain, Royal Mail

  • jim
    4 weeks ago

    in other words royal mail wish to have a sustainable profitable business with a secure future
    the unions want to live in the past no doubt their jobs will also be in the past,
    as are
    most mine workers as ship yard workers jobs

    • Terence Devlin
      3 weeks ago

      No Jim I don’t know if you work in delivery but I’ve noticed a massive change over the past 12 months . The likes of me with an opinion are no longer wanted , they want robots and parttimers who can be lied to . No-one wants a strike but something needs to change quickly this very average and over paid management destroy the place for good

  • Johann
    4 weeks ago

    Royal Mail has a very profitable business partly due to the years of negotiation between the CWU and RM. The CWU has its members interests as its primary concern and if those wishing to comment have ever worked for RM on anything other than a managers position they will understand totally the CWU’s stance.

  • jim
    4 weeks ago

    does the CWU not understand the very existence of articles like this simply chip away at Royal mails business.
    there will now be businesses that are now considering and looking at alternatives forming contingency plans , some will like what they find and change regardless

  • Graham,postie 22 years
    4 weeks ago

    Yeah let’s all roll over and do as we’re told like good little posties,let’s make sure Rico back gets a great bonus,for God’s sake don’t be seen to stand up for ourselfs my dad said there’s only one way to deal with bullies,fight if you have any pride.

    • Alan Paterson
      3 weeks ago

      Yes Graham – but many people in my position see YOU as the bullies.

      why is it right to hold my business “hostage” and threaten to refuse to deliver my parcels?!

      especially when you have such good conditions already (relatively speaking).

      every time you do they you are biting the hand that feeds as many SMEs flock to your competitors.

      I done this last time you threatened to strike and have never looked back. You wont bully me anymore!

      Its amusing the myopic point of views many postman have. You should be trying to support your employer at difficult times – not try and stuff them up.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Royal Mail and the CWU came to an agreement. Now Royal Mail want to break that agreement. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to see who is the problem.

    • Postie22 years
      3 weeks ago

      Seriously mate you have no clue,we’ve put up with so much bs from our employer if it wasn’t for us there would be NO delivery to anyone,they sold us of for two bob scrapped second delivery,made our delivery’s so big a royal marine couldn’t do them we agreed to all there modernising plans and still they come after us,so what should we do just take it like good plebs,enough !

    • Jim
      3 weeks ago

      Lets be honest walking round in circles with a bag, pushing things thru letter boxes is not
      high IQ
      Replacements dont need years of training

  • Stephen clifford
    3 weeks ago

    People need to read between lines. Royal Mail were doing well. Along comes Back, he talks DOWN the company, so share price falls. Then HE buys thousands of shares at a cheap rate, then he starts going on about how worse we are, more than he thought. We are modernising. We are not reaching targets, because managers cut the workforce down to the bone. Quality suffers. You can’t have it both ways

  • Alan Paterson
    3 weeks ago

    thank God for the alternatives to Royal Mail. Who are just as efficient (I have measured it over years) and will deliver my packages without threatening my small business. the more businesses migrate from Royal Mail the less effective these strikes become.

    Whether you are entitled to better conditions or not – don’t try to use my SME as leverage for something YOU want.

    Its pathetic that this point does not even seem to be considered by unions. It makes me angry, it makes most SME angry and you will not get our support. Other services are out there offering the same efficiency for a cheaper price.

  • Alan Paterson
    3 weeks ago

    Let me tell you about our RM collection. My collection postman used to arrive 2 hours before the collection time and then sleep in his van until time.

    this went on for 5 years. every day including Saturdays. then Royal Mail stepped in and started to make cuts. he could no longer sleep half his shift. He was not happy. he thought he was entitled to his little nap.

    RM made the run more efficient and stopped this action. I am sure he will be in favour of the strike action.

  • Sinead
    3 weeks ago

    Royal mail is the biggest bullying company I have ever worked for there was an agreement with the union which the membership agreed to and Rico thinks he can just disregard he doesn’t realise how strong our union and membership is bring it on up the workers 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘

    • jim
      3 weeks ago

      yep miners ,shipyard workers ,and dockers,
      all had strong unions that managed to do them out of a job with political manoeuvring

  • Samuel
    3 weeks ago

    Boris is going to sell the Royal Mail to the Americans that’s a big possibility the fact that the Tories have always had it in for CWU have been confronted on all sides of the argument and sadly along with the rest of the union’s if Brexit goes ahead all our worries and workers rights are down the pan.

    • Alan Paterson
      3 weeks ago

      @ samuel, well if I were the prime Minister I would certainly get rid of a company that causes so many problems. If this happened the rights will certainly be diminished. I said this would happen. When a company becomes too much hassle – its best to get rid of it.

      I have been saying for decades that posties and the union are shooting themselves in the feet.

  • CB
    3 weeks ago

    Give it a go Jim and then tell me how easy it is. The majority of new starters leave after a few weeks because they can’t take the work load or the bullying from managers. The business had an agreement with the cwu and are now ignoring it. The higher management are untrustworthy.

    • jim
      3 weeks ago

      CB your response simply confirms my point

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      I agree with you Jim. I don’t expect Rico has any interest in the long term future of Royal Mail, it’s staff or customers. In a couple of years or so he will be off with his thirty pieces of silver to ruin another company and line his pockets some more. He, his ilk and their selfish greed are where your problem lies. Not with the humble postman who is only trying to protect his livelihood, just as you are concerned about yours.

  • CB
    3 weeks ago

    Give it a go Jim and then tell me how easy it is. The majority of new starters leave after a few weeks because they can’t take the work load or the bullying from managers. The business had an agreement with the cwu and are now ignoring it. The higher management are untrustworthy.

    • jim
      3 weeks ago

      sorry a postie life is not for me
      i ate my greens and stuck in at school

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      You are an aragant Fu***r aren’t you Jim.

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      No in the slightest Jim. All it tells us is that you are an arrogant Fu***r, and your previous comments have certainly confirmed that!

    • jim
      3 weeks ago

      pleased you got “arrogant” right this time
      Royal mail really do need a second delivery

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      You are funny Jim! You pull me up on one spelling mistake, yet take a look at your posts and the grammar is awful! Maybe you should have spent a little more of the time you “stuck in a school” studying English? Seems some of this arrogance of yours is misplaced.

    • jim
      3 weeks ago

      cynically using innocent customers as tools in a dispute
      is that not arrogance of the highest order?

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      No Jim it doesn’t. But breaking an agreement as Rico Back has done and expecting everyone to just roll over and take it does show a huge amount of arrogance.

    • Jim
      3 weeks ago

      Its your dispute have fun we doubt rico will worry unduly, he probably has no mortgage
      Plus thousands like us will just
      Find alternatives and won’t be held to ransom

  • Don’t worry people , there is not a chance of a strike ,we work with too many think idiots now in Royal Mail who don’t know what Union means , they think they are supposed to be treated like dirt and told lies on a daily basis , I’ll be very surprised if it actually happens

    • Alan Paterson
      3 weeks ago

      @ terence – yes but its the THREAT of a strike that gets me. in the past when I relied on Royam mail it gave me many sleepless nights , put my blood pressure up and to be honest – effected my health.

      its the principle of the threat so as they try and get their own way.

      I am on RM company side – they dont threaten me – its always the damn posties and the union. I feel sorry for the company who are trying to make it work in difficult times.

  • Colin
    3 weeks ago

    Try working in an environment where you are continually harrased and bullied continuously.People at the top on disgusting salaries, you just have to look at Amazon, zero contracts, zero meal reliefs,, going back to Victorian times in this country…

    • Rob
      3 weeks ago

      @Colin, we all make choices in life, if it is that bad the way some posties claim then leave and find another employer that offers you the terms you are looking for. I don’t see DPD, UPS, MyHermes going on strike every year. It seem every year no in the run up to Christmas Royal Mail threaten or go on strike.

  • Jim
    3 weeks ago

    Try employing people , dealing with theid issues ,then being responsible for their salary, libel for taxes pensions, insurance ,business rates energy bills .transport bills, local and
    national government regulations
    Rents and leases
    Not to mention actually selling or making ends meet, etcetc etc
    Then you might know what pressure in the workplace is

    • Alan Paterson
      3 weeks ago

      @ Jim, well said. these guys have no idea and they dont know which side their bread is buttered on.

  • Pete
    3 weeks ago

    Unfortunately the only time strike action makes an impact is when it’s due to be a prosperous time for the business, so sadly SMEs suffer but we have to fight for our conditions just like any other employee wants. Just like the BA pilots are doing in the SUMMER holidays, hit the company hard in its busiest period. No point in striking when it’s quiet! So sorry for all those who feel we are hurting their business, but I’m not working or living for you, I’m doing it for me and I want my job security and conditions

    • Alan Paterson
      3 weeks ago

      @ Pete -suffer or CLOSE! you moron. Your post – I could tell you just dont get it. “suffering ” for me in the past is trying to get enough money together to pay staff and having NOTHING left for me. I dont moan about it – thats the path I have chosen but you have no right to come along and f@@k up my business with your bully tactics and threats. You have no right to threaten not to deliver my mail.

      I have a 100% drop in income when my parcels are not delivered. How would YOU like that! just so YOU can get marginally better working conditions? You moron! “SME” have to suffer? How dare you! Some of us SME only make money at Xmas because we are selling seasonal items. You have absolutely NO RIGHT TO TAKE OUR INCOME AWAY!

      I just thought about something ………… I have still to pay my rent, rotes, staff etc etc. so I am actually experience a LARGER then 100% drop. I would be running at a loss. you guys have no clue whatsoever, you are selfish moaning idiots – if you dont like your job go get a new one. but dont be putting SME out of business – that’s a little bit worse than your so called poor working conditions.

      I took my business elsewhere so you can’t bully or threaten me anymore! and most of me colleagues have done the same.

      You are wrong – SME dont have to suffer. they can just go to one of your competitors. how dare you say “SME have to suffer” I am your bloody customer for God sake! Its well seeing that you dont put your surname to these comments.

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      Patterson you are wrong. Postman have the right to withdraw their labour if they so choose. Sounds like you are only concerned about what you might loose. No different from the postman’s position really.

    • Pete
      3 weeks ago

      I never said ‘SME have to suffer’. I said I’m sorry for you that it causes you to suffer! So get your facts right before you go ranting. If having 1 or 2 days of strike action could cause you so much aggro and even close, you really need to take a look at your business model, sounds to me you have no contingency plans in place. Just so you are aware we don’t get paid on strike and I have bills to pay, so it’s not like it doesn’t hurt me too! And it’s not bullying you, it’s standing up to the bullies that are above us. Everything would be fine if Rico didn’t turn his back on an agreement that was made prior to him sitting at the top.

      I have every right to stand up for my own protection, who do you think YOU are to tell me I have no voice? Pipe down you moron. Are you also saying BA pilots have no right to cause hassle for people’s summer holiday plans. Junior doctors have no right to strike for their conditions? Nurses have no right to go on a slow down?! No they should just go get another job?! You are a complete tool. Well how about you go work out a better business plan!

      As you said, you took your business elsewhere, so 1 question… Why the hell do you care if we go on strike or not?

      And if I did put my surname? What then? You’d threaten me personally?? You come across as the sort of bully we are striking against, I have a voice and I’m using it. Don’t like it, then do one snowflake.

  • SAM
    3 weeks ago

    Ever since this Rico Black guy turned up all I have seen is him talk down RMG. Cost myself a shareholder a small fortune. I would like to see him gone now.
    When I bought into RMG a few years ago it seemed like a no brainer with the growth in online shopping.
    The company just does not seem to evolve, still the poor service from a business point of view and let’s be honest they have an unfair monopoly I cannot get better rates so have no choice but to use them.
    Automation will cost jobs that is a fact of life for many employees (Amazon will eventually become so automated they will not need that massive slave labour zero hours contract workforce).
    Am all for decent working conditions and rights, but we are living in a time of massive corporate greed and inequality for all workers everywhere, where people like Rico are interested only in their bonus, much like the lunatic in charge at eBay.

    All short term profits and all profits before people this is the world we live in, and the route cause of all the problems in the world right now.

    If Black has made agreements he should agree with them, but the postal workers also have a wake up an see the world has moved on and much of their work will become automated.

    In an ideal world we could find a happy medium before we reach the tipping point, but everyone has only their own interests at heart in today’s world

  • 3 weeks ago

    The individual posties we deal with are generally hard-working, pleasant people. But it infuriates me that the internal wranglings of the union and management are inflicted on small businesses in a way calculated to do us the maximum harm at an already stressful time of year.

    I see it as inevitable that Royal Mail either won’t exist, or will be a totally different business within 5 years. Unlike previous strikes, this time there is a competitor who will play the disruption up for maximum benefit to themselves; Amazon Logistics. They may not be quite up to the standard yet, but have made it pretty obvious they intend to virtually replace national carriers within a very short timescale.

    If businesses have the choice of a supplier who causes them incredible stress and losses every couple of Christmasses, or one which is marginally less efficient but more focused, many will choose the latter. Add in increasing automation and the replacement of humans by self-driving vehicles delivering direct to local parcel lockers, and it’ll be bye-bye Royal Mail within 5 years.

  • 3 weeks ago

    @ Alan Paterson You really should not take it too personally, the postmen have nothing against you.

    I rely on the Royal Mail and yes believe me when I tell you I used to get very “upset” when somebody interfered with my mail and the fear of strike when you have just put a mailshot of 200,000 costing £50,000 in the system was not a good day, until they announced the vote was for them not to strike, by the smallest of margins.

    @The Postmen amongst us: You have to do what you have to do as they say. I have just signed up to Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime. Amazon are even offering me discounts to use their own delivery service to get me on board but I have chosen using RM24 Tracked instead, but should my business suffer by a strike then I have to put my business first and once a change is in place it is very hard to get me back.

    Hermes don’t seem to want my business as they could not be bothered to sign me up after giving me a quote, the Customer Service was terrible even from the area manager, which also put me off.

    Good luck with whatever you decide but try and make it a week I am on holiday.

  • Mac
    3 weeks ago

    Ok we get that there are some current posties who both dislike their current employer and insist on staying in the job.

    Its the holding to ransom of other people’s livelihoods that tends to annoy us business owners. Strike action impacts our ability to earn, our ability to make money to pay our bills and our staff.

    So don’t be surprised when business owners shift the work to your competitors due to your unions actions. Any job losses caused by reduction in work take up with the union. Daresay they can arrange strikes over loss of contracts caused by strikes…

    Royal Mail used to have virtual monopoly on deliveries. Luckily that’s changed and people, and businesses, have more choice now.

    • CB
      3 weeks ago

      I understand Mac why you are upset about the current situation. The postman are too. What people don’t seem to understand is that the root of the problem is with the upper management of Royal Mail. They have gone back on their word and caused this dispute. The only tool in the box the postmen have to fight their corner is industrial action. It is true that Royal Mail postmen have some of the best terms and conditions in the industry and they can see the way the company want to go. It’s “a race to the bottom”. When all delivery people whatever the company are on zero hours contacts, no pension, holidays etc. Then you will see how bad the service can be. The postal service is only the start I expect. All but the elite are in for a rough ride if we all let this happen. We need to look beyond the current dispute and at the bigger picture. If the postman win then they may well be the saviours of the ordinary people.

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