CWU Western Counties Branch Urges You to REJECT THE DEAL

This is a leaflet from the CWU Western Counties branch calling for a No vote in the CWU ballot on the pay agreement with Royal Mail.

Across the country there was a sense of relief that an agreement had finally been reached. Members should be under no illusion that without the involvement of the Union the original document would have been imposed on us. The National Union has had an aggressive employer to deal with. Let us not forget that initially there was no pay rise on offer. That flexibility was a take it or leave it offer with virtually no union involvement to protect people. In addition the Job Security agreement (MTSF) was to go and we had no input whatsoever into their plans for the industry including the prospect of 40,000 job losses.

The National Union will be sending out literature to you very soon. They will be seeking your support for the agreement they have finally reached. An agreement that we must acknowledge has forced Royal Mail to make to some concessions on the issues that they were hell bent on enforcing in their own employee relations strategy. Your sacrifices and solid support for the Union is the one and only reason for this we have any improvement at all.

Your Local and Area Reps have been talking to many of you to gain your feedback but even at this early stage of a new industrial relations dawn Royal Mail managers are refusing to allow unpaid release in some areas of our Branch in order to prevent us having an intelligent debate with your locally elected representatives. It seems that whilst improvements have been made, that it is only a job half done. There are huge concerns with virtually everything pushed to local level, each office will be facing an avalanche of management proposals to cut hours which could reduce your earnings and create a flexible and mobile workforce with little regard to whether this will actually benefits the business never mind you as individual employees. In short, the agreement, despite some improvements needs far more safeguards built in.

You now have an important decision to make. The CWU is a democratic and open organisation and we will and do listen to your feedback. This is why local Branches can make separate recommendations. Our considered opinion is that in the forthcoming ballot we strongly recommend that you vote NO. Send our National Officers back to negotiate further to ensure that cast iron safeguards are included to protect all workplaces, from the largest to the smallest.

Vote NO until we get the right deal that gives you the respect you deserve and protects the public service you provide. Vote NO before its to late!
 1 Vote 1 Chance ! 

                                                                                                       Continued………………..
The proposed agreement is set out in various sections and phases. Please read the following carefully. The following sets out our reasons for recommending a NO vote :

SECTION 1 – EMPLOYEE PAY & BENEFITS

•    There is NO back pay. An amount of £175 will be paid from ESOS (a scheme to capture savings you have already made). There is no new money from Royal Mail.

•    5.4% from 1st Oct, this DOES NOT include Shift Allowances, SA, Driving Allowances, Sunday work or colleagues in Network. Make no mistake, this is a 5.4% pay rise from April 2007 to April 2009 = 2.7% per year only. The 1.5% from April 08 which is only payable when you agree to ALL the flexibility aspects. No further pay deal until April 2009.

•    Early shift allowances in Delivery will be given to you on a grandfather rights basis if you were in post on April 2007.

•    The current and discredited 50:50 productivity scheme remains, this is payable only on savings over and above your units budget over which you have no input or influence over.

•    £400 colleagues share only when you agree to all RM flexibility plans. This £400 is, according to the deal, a “potential” payment! There is no guarantee whatsoever that you will get this whether you agree to flexibility or not.

SECTION 2 – DELIVERING CHANGE & FLEXIBILITY

•    Executive action on Later Starts and Network 07 to be accepted and negotiated in retrospect. The agreement says Saturday start times and overall length of attendance will remain as before unless agreed locally, so what about Monday to Friday then? And will Saturdays be that much shorter?

•    Weekend working in Mail Centres will in effect cease. This will have a massive impact on potential earnings for all functions and, of course, mean large reduction in staffing levels and loss of jobs and a greater workload for delivery offices in the week, including the so called easy Tuesday.

PHASE 2 – ENABLING LOCAL FLEXIBILITY

•    To receive your additional 1.5% you must have agreed local flexibility plans in place by the end of January. RM can review these whenever they want thereafter.

•    Longs and Shorts will come in for all functions. This will be a structural change allowing a change of up to 2 hours eg 7 hours on Tues and 9 hours on Fridays etc.

•    The unit rep must agree to local ways to cover short term absence and leave, this will either be at reduced hours for the work or nil cost.

•    For delivery staff job and finish will go, if you come back early you will be expected to work till your time, including Saturdays.

•    The agreement states YOU must be flexible on a daily and weekly basis, on top of the above management can require you to change you start time with 24 hours notice by up to 30 minutes, this includes Saturdays and is in addition to the 2 hours mentioned above.

•    Flexibility will mean a reduction in your earnings permanently and especially at Christmas. Flexibility will mean increased workload . Efficient summer staffing will mean covering for your colleagues for no extra pay.

•    Working in nearby offices does happen in certain areas now but we think that Royal Mail will treat this section as them being given a free hand to order our members to be a mobile workforce. This could be another way of staffing the Mail Centre at peak times of the year as they do at Christmas and covering deliveries that are left on the deck.

•    “Innovative duty structures” speaks for itself. Network/Logistics colleagues know all about how innovative Royal Mail can be !

Amazingly, it is planned that there are to be 4 offices in each AGM area that will be required to trial flexible working by April 2008. Surely national trials should come BEFORE local flexibility deals?!

This aspect is extremely dangerous. Your office will be exposed to the full onslaught of Royal Mail before national trials are completed.

All of Phase 2 states that this will be done by agreement and via the IR Framework. It MUST be recognised that this is a safeguard the union have negotiated. However, we know that in many areas around the UK this simply means stages 1, 2, 3 then implement with Royal Mail stating that the procedure is exhausted. We do not believe this is a sufficient safeguard for you. You deserve better. What happens in your office? Threats of executive action, that’s what.

PHASE 3 – TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE WORK

This builds on Phase 2. It confirms no pay rise in April 2008 unless you have agreed the flexibility. It also states bluntly, “new arrangements to cover for one another and develop sensible options to absorb absences & increased workload, where time exists within normal hours.” Team working” in other words.

PHASE 4 – JOINT WORKING GROUPS

Their task is to discuss and potentially renegotiate the following and these will be split :

•    The IR Framework, Conduct and Attendance agreements, including “Performance Management.” What does this mean ?

•    Simplifying pay for the future, monthly pay and annualised hours. It also says it will look how to implement monthly pay and commits us to discussing annualised hours, more flexible working and changes to attendance patterns in the future.

•    Future business strategy for Mail Centres and Delivery Offices. It allows us to have “an input” to RM plans. We demand and deserve negotiation on all aspects of RM plans. MTSF is to be reviewed as well. However , this is an open ended review so we do not know what could come out of this.

•    DOOR 2 DOOR – Royal Mail made their intentions very clear on the cessation of D2D payments. Now we have got RM to move and deal with this separately. If D2D payments were to cease it would wipe out your pay rise in one go, and there is nothing in this agreement to say payments will stay and/or the cap be removed.

DEPLOYMENT OF NETWORK 07

The Network 07 duties have already been brought in without agreement. The proposed agreement states that we can now renegotiate them. However, Royal Mail are already saying that nothing will change but that we can use the IR Framework if we want. So that’s ok then ?!

Network Drivers under this agreement are to get a below inflation pay rise in April 2008 of 2.7% on basic pay and OT only.

It has already been raised nationally that Network drivers should be balloted separately on the pay aspect.

AND FINALLY – PENSIONS  

This is extremely controversial. The CWU have attempted in the face of opposition from Royal Mail to decouple this from the agreement so that there will be a separate ballot. This has been achieved. However, the retirement age of 65 is supported by the CWU in a joint statement. Royal Mail interprets this as being our agreement for the changes. We know this is hugely unpopoular and at the moment your Branch is far from convinced that the current proposals are inevitable or completely necessary.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Branch response to the proposed national agreement. As you will gather we have put to you all our concerns. You have a choice to make.

We now need to put the ball back into the court of Royal Mail and the National Union to negotiate the improvements and safeguards necessary to ensure this industry does change, but changes for the good of all.

Please take the time to contact either the Branch or your Rep if you have any concerns or questions.

IT’S YOUR FUTURE – REPEAL THE DEAL

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER – NOT CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF IT !

VOTE NO