Voice: Postal - July/August 2011 - (Page 4)
VOICE JULY | AUGUST 2011
NEWS INDUSTRY NEWS
SUPPLY CHAIN NEGOTIATIONS
We are simply seeking a fair pay offer which our members undoubtedly deserve Andy Furey
Average difference between RPI and CPI indices
CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey told Voice that POL bosses were "undervaluing our members" in admin and supply chain grades as pay talks continued this month. After a two-month delay, negotiations, which also include CWU members at Swindon Warehouse, began in May. But, while some progress has been made, POL "is still failing to recognise the vital contribution made by all our admin and supply chain members in ensuring an excellent Post Office service is provided daily to the public," Andy told Voice. Back in 2009, the company justified a pay freeze on its workforce by citing the fact that inflation then was at a negative rate and, after recalling this, Andy compared the 2009 situation to today’s. "Currently, the retail price index stands at 5.2 per cent and has been above 5 per cent for the whole of 2011," he pointed out, adding: "Indeed, all respected economic forecasters are predicting this level of inflation for the rest of 2011." The failure to reach agreement was, he continued: "Due to POL’s failure to recognise our members’ commitment and dedication. "They are undervaluing our members by ignoring the fact that we are all struggling with rising costs in today’s ever spiralling economy. "We are simply seeking a fair pay offer which our members, undoubtedly, deserve and it may be necessary to instigate a ballot for industrial action if the company is unwilling to markedly improve upon its offer," Andy concluded. In a separate development, Andy has asked for members’ feedback after POL financial specialists turned down a proposed new commission scheme by 62 per cent to 38 per cent in a ballot last month. Andy explained to Voice that, in response to this, "it has been jointly agreed that Post Office and the CWU understand colleagues’ reasons for voting 'no' so a way forward can be agreed. "CWU will be writing to members to gain their views."
CWUTV broadcasting from the strike picket line
As Voice went to press, the CWU postal executive authorised another two days of strike action at facilities maintenance company Romec. The action is scheduled to start on Wednesday night (July 20) and end on Friday night, and follows last month’s two-day walkout, as the longstanding dispute with management over WPA tracking devices continues. This coincides with the ongoing callout ban and overtime
restriction, which has now been in place for six weeks. CWU assistant secretary Ray Ellis warned that the effect of this was "raising the pressure on the company. "Last month’s walkouts were solidly supported right across the country and, if no resolution is reached and the further strikes take place as planned, then we’re confident these will be just as solid as before, while the ongoing short-ofstrike action is having a deepening cumulative effect," he explained. But Ray is keen to stress that
Romec workers do not want to be in dispute and that the action has, effectively, been forced upon them by "stubborn and intransigent management." There are agreed national procedures for the use of these invehicle tracking devices and at the heart of the dispute are allegations that the company is repeatedly failing to abide by them. "If Romec wants to end this dispute, all they have to do is return to compliance on the use of these devices," explained Ray, who added: "This is the issue that May’s industrial action ballot was called over and resolving this is key to any peace deal." Last month’s strikes - Friday and Monday walkouts, which, together with the other action, meant a fourday stoppage - saw picket lines mounted in London and at several sites in other major cities. In the capital, CWU strikers were delighted when members of the Unite union joined them outside Westminster’s Portcullis House, proudly bearing their own branch banner. "There were also lively pickets in Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester and Warrington," reported Ray, who added: "This will all happen again soon unless the company comes to its senses and negotiates a settlement with the CWU." CWU general secretary Billy
Hayes told Voice that the whole union was "100 per cent behind our Romec members. "The CWU is united and demanding fairness, respect and dignity at work," he added. Deputy general secretary Dave Ward voiced the union’s fury at reports that the company is using data from the devices to discipline employees, condemning Romec’s "aggressive behaviour" as "shocking". "We urge the company to put its energy into resolving this situation instead of further intimidating workers," he insisted.
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CWU members protest over pensions changes
ROYAL MAIL PENSIONS
Postal executive president Jane Loftus and her deputy Pete Donaghy handed in a giant postcard to Royal Mail Group pensions trustees’ headquarters today in protest at changes to benefits calculations. People who joined the scheme before 1987 will have their future payments calculated in accordance with the consumer price index (CPI), which averages some 1 to 1.5 per cent below the retail price index (RPI). A campaign urging the trustees to retain the RPI criteria has been gathering support from thousands of postal workers at hundreds of workplaces around the country and the CWU is determined that the voice of the workers is heard. Speaking at the central London
protest, retired member Brian Lee said that he was not surprised by the strength of feeling around the subject, which is, he insisted "a massive issue for our members."
The trustees have said there’s no choice about these changes, but we’re saying there is an alternative
Brian continued: "The trustees have said they’ve got no choice about these changes, but we’re saying there is an alternative. "They could have delayed the change, put the issue out to consultation and, subject to that, they could then have legally remained with the RPI system," he explained. There are ongoing discussions taking place involving the CWU, the trustees, the Government’s Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey
Watch the CWU delivering its pensions message
and Royal Mail and the union is determined to continue to press its case against the change.
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‘Slow progress’ in POL pay talks
CWU seeks Romec solution
The whole of the union is 100 per cent behind our Romec members in their fight for justice
If Romec wants to end this dispute, all it has to do is return to compliance on the use of these devices Ray Ellis
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