The business have now communicated with you the Royal Mail Group plan to create a new legal trading entity for Parcelforce and their intention to transfer you to the new limited company by means of TUPE.
Parcelforce informed the union in early 2019, that they wished to explore a scenario where they had more managerial and commercial autonomy within the Group and could differentiate their future strategy from the widely reported Royal Mail Parcels strategy, announced on Capital Markets Day (CMD), which we are aware caused a degree of uncertainty amongst our PFW members and activists.
Informal discussions have taken place with the business on a strictly commercially confidential basis. The business was explicit at the outset that they were not presenting a proposal but wished to engage in informal scoping discussions, which the union agreed to on a without prejudice basis. Following those informal talks, in April 2019 the union advised the business that we would not be in a position to support any proposal which entailed the creation of a limited company and the requirement for TUPE.
In July, Rico Back, CEO, Royal Mail Group, informed the union that the business intended to proceed with the change and a formal proposal was received on the 29th July 2019. Further discussions have since taken place.
The union’s prime intention in these talks was to understand whether there was the necessity to establish a separate limited company to achieve the greater commercial and operational freedom within Royal Mail that PFW desires. We also sought to achieve the most robust commitments from both Royal Mail and Parcelforce on a range of issues, to ensure that any change activity would provide the maximum protections for our PFW members and not result in any detriment to Terms & Conditions and job security, either now or in the future.
As a priority we sought assurances that RMG would not sell, divest or enter into a joint venture in relation to Parcelforce Ltd now or in the future and that it would remain an integral part of RMG. We also sought a commitment that the plan did not signal the breakup of the group and that no further plans exist now or in the future to create further limited companies within RMG.
The responses received from the business failed to convince the union of the requirement to create a limited company and invoke TUPE in relation to PFW employees, nor did they provide what we would consider acceptable responses to the assurances that were sought. We also believe that the proposal is a breach of the spirit and intent of the Legal Contract between Royal Mail Group and the CWU.
As such the union wrote to the business on the ?’h August 2019 informing them that the proposal is now the subject of a National Disagreement and invoking the Dispute Resolution Procedures (DRP) contained in the Legal Contract between RMG and the CWU.
In addition to communicating with you the business has now formally triggered the TUPE consultation process, despite accepting that the proposal is a negotiable issue and subject to our agreed DRP processes, including External Mediation.
Your union does not accept that the triggering of the TUPE consultation means that the proposed change will happen and we will maintain our opposition to the plan in its current form by all means necessary. We will continue to campaign for and champion alternative strategies to allow Parcelforce to grow and prosper while retaining its current place within Royal Mail Group.
It is our intention to call a National Briefing of Branches and Parcelforce Representatives in the very near future to discuss next steps in the campaign and further updates will be provided as talks continue and information becomes available.