Voice: Postal - July/August 2011 - (Page 3)
JULY | AUGUST 2011 VOICE
Image © Markus Gann / Shutterstock
After securing a cast-iron guarantee of no compulsory redundancies from Royal Mail in London, deputy general secretary Dave Ward and his senior negotiating team are determined to win the same guarantee nationwide
Improving job security for all
Following the London mail centres settlement, top-level national discussions have begun with Royal Mail on a range of issues...
Job security, putting people first as we modernise, keeping agreements and ensuring a positive future for all will be the key aims at the forefront of national discussions with Royal Mail over the coming period, Dave Ward told Voice. Last month’s settlement to the London mail centre dispute will allow the union and Royal Mail to move forward together and shift the focus back to the union’s national policy as agreed at conference, Dave explained, insisting that the CWU will "strike the right balance between a robust engagement strategy with stakeholders and putting pressure on the employer." Key to the London peace accord
was the cast-iron pledge by the company that its programme of change in the capital would take place with no compulsory redundancies, along with improvements to relocation payments, clearer definitions of "reasonable alternative job offers" and provision of staff transport in some instances. CWU members at several sites in
‘Value’ of ColleagueShares before March 2011
‘Value’ of ColleagueShares after April 2011
the capital had balloted for industrial action in May, concerned that, although Royal Mail had not specifically threatened compulsory layoffs, the sheer numbers of job losses and the speed of the timetable, would have inevitably led to people being forced out. With the strike poll results showing a four-to-one Yes vote being released just as Annual Conference began, the prospect of a summer of strikes loomed. As our centrespread reports in detail, conference unanimously backed a motion from London delegates appealing to the rest of the country for support. Such was the level of support , and so strong were the pledges of full, practical solidarity that, had the
strikes gone ahead, they could have spread nationwide within days. Faced with this rock-solid opposition, Royal Mail came back to the negotiating table and, after intensive talks, the deal was struck. CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward told Voice that the agreement "breaks new ground on job security for postal workers, which has been our key concern. "These employment safeguards are amongst the very best in the UK and they strengthen the processes contained in the mail centre section of the Business Transformation: 2010 and Beyond agreement," he added. Dave continued: "We now intend to build on those improvements in our national discussions and we want to see these improved
provisions applying for mail centre reviews in the rest of the UK." Union negotiators have also been discussing the ColleagueShare controversy with Royal Mail in a series of meetings. At these meetings Dave and his senior team have spelled out that the "zero" valuation is unacceptable and have urged either a return to the pre-2011 business plan valuation or a renegotiation of alternative benefits. In response, Royal Mail has indicated that it may adjust its business plan further and this may alter the value of the "shares" for next May’s final valuation. "We have not yet reached agreement with Royal Mail and discussions are ongoing," Dave concluded.
Mail sale wrong, but CWU to keep fighting for members
POSTAL SERVICES ACT
Privatisation of the UK’s postal service came closer last month when the Government’s controversial Postal Services Bill completed its passage through Parliament, received Royal Assent and became the Postal Services Act. The Act enables the sale of Royal Mail to private buyers and separates off the Post Office, which remains in public ownership for now, although mutualisation options are being considered for the future and are currently open to consultation. However, determined campaigning
and lobbying by CWU members has forced some positive measures into the Act. These include abolition of industry regulator Postcomm - its duties to be taken over by communications body Ofcom, with regulatory improvements to come and the Government’s takeover of direct responsibility for the Royal Mail Pension Scheme deficit. Ofcom is timetabling the publication of the industry’s new regulatory regime for next spring which will allow the CWU to input its own ideas and suggestions into the pre-publication consultative process.
The CWU is seeking a removal of the restrictions on Royal Mail’s ability to develop and introduce new products and services and a removal of price controls on network access, but the retention of controls on universal service operations. To protect the post office network, the union is urging the Government to increase the work that it puts through the network and also to guarantee that its income from Royal Mail is maintained. Reacting to the new Act, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes warned that the UK’s postal services now faced an "uncertain future.
"In Germany, privatisation has led to postage costs twice as high as ours and in the Netherlands, rural services have been cut to three times a week. "The CWU has opposed, and will continue to oppose, privatisation of Royal Mail and we will also continue to defend the universal service, the post office network and the interests of all postal workers," he vowed. And deputy general secretary Dave Ward agreed, insisting: "Whether our members work for a private or publicsector employer, the CWU will always be here, fighting to defend and advance the pay, terms and conditions of all postal workers in the UK."
“We continue to oppose privatisation and we will continue to defend the USO, the network and members’ interests” Billy Hayes
“Whether public or private sector, the CWU will always fight to defend and advance your pay, terms and conditions of employment” Dave Ward
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Voice: Postal - July/August 2011
Voice: Postal - July/august 2011
General Secretary’s Column
Improving Job Security for All
The Latest Industry News
Child’s Play at Mount Pleasant
Shaping Up to Meet Future Challenges
CWU Salures CUPW-Sttp & TUC Awards
News Updates From the Telecoms Industry
General Strike Now Needed!
Epic Relay for CWUHA
Voice: Postal - July/August 2011