LTB 308/20 - JOINT STATEMENT – ROUTE EXCELLENCE (REX) CHANGES AND INTRODUCTION OF AN INTERIM BONUS SCHEME
11th June 2020
For the Immediate Attention of All:
Postal Branches with Parcelforce Members
Parcelforce Regional Organisers
JOINT STATEMENT – ROUTE EXCELLENCE (REX) CHANGES AND INTRODUCTION OF AN INTERIM BONUS SCHEME
Branches and representatives will be aware that activity has been taking place in relation Route Excellence (REX) technology under our established Table of Success processes since 2015. The National REX Joint Working Group has continuously reviewed the phased deployment of REX over that period and has actively sought to problem solve and influence product development as the technology has evolved.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic presented significant problems with social distancing in Parcelforce and challenged the methodology being applied to REX, which was creating congregation points as drivers amended their routes on laptops and queued to collect paper manifests. It quickly became apparent to both parties that the existing arrangements would not be sustainable during the crisis and that the methodology would need to be amended at pace to ensure the safety of PFW employees/CWU members.
Serious consideration was given to how these safety issues could be resolved. Given that the business would not agree to switch off REX due to contractual obligations around the 1 Hour Customer pre-advice, it was crucial that a solution was found which resolved the social distancing issues. The department therefore took the decision to support the business’ request to move to Auto Rex on the basis of safety and social distancing.
It would be fair to say that both the department and Parcelforce recognise that, in what have been and continue to be extremely difficult circumstances in respect of the pandemic and rising traffic levels, this has not been an easy transition. The department has also been aware of the apparent shortcomings of the Auto Rex outputs and has been continually reviewing feedback from the field through the Covid-19 National engagement forums.
The JWG has been meeting on at least a weekly basis seeking to address the issues that have been identified, not least REX route configuration, rising traffic volumes and the decrease in traffic on the roads, which impacts on the drop rate and time window elements.
In this regard extensive discussions have taken place over recent weeks via the JWG and at National level with the business to find solutions to improve the performance of REX and at the time of writing Geoplan are due to produce software updates as a result of feedback that has been received from drivers, which will hopefully improve some of the issues that are being experienced. This process will continue as a business as usual activity to ensure that driver feedback on REX is recorded and acted upon.
Both parties are aware that at this stage REX is by no means operating at an optimum level of performance, however in the premium market segment that PFW operate in it is imperative that the business is able to match the customer service offerings of its competitors, including the 1 hour delivery window. Therefore, while we understand how frustrating the routing issues can be it is imperative that Drivers follow both the optimised route and the time windows.
Given the major change that the move to Auto Rex has entailed the department has also used the circumstances to address the historic problem in relation to the current Depot bonus arrangements by tailoring a scheme for Drivers around REX compliance, rather than the current First Time Delivery Scheme (FTD). These discussions have been part of the wider strategy to replace the generic FTD scheme with function specific bonus arrangements which allow all members to directly influence and earn from the scheme.
Branches and representatives will be aware that the FTD scheme had fallen into disrepair some time ago and has been the subject of Conference Policy seeking changes, or a replacement scheme in:
– 2013 – Motions 3 & 4
– 2018 – Motion 116
– 2019 – Motion 51
Discussions with the business have now culminated in an agreed Joint Statement that has been endorsed by the Postal Executive, a copy of which is attached for your information (Annex A).
Colleagues will note that the Joint Statement is designed to address some of the immediate issues with Auto Rex and introduce an interim bonus scheme to reward our driving members for their perseverance and commitment to following both the Auto Rex order and the 1 Hour Delivery windows.
Of particular note with regard to REX the document achieves a commitment to temporarily adjust road speeds where required by agreement to ensure that the delivery windows (ETA’s) reflect the reality. We have therefore agreed that our respective Industrial Engineers will be able to agree amendments to the routing software based on the current road conditions, which will be open to constant review.
In its current form REX effectively aligns all available traffic to the route structure. So at a time when the business is currently experiencing increased traffic volumes the system can align more traffic than can be delivered within the duty time. Discussions and analysis are taking place on a Load Balancing Tool which will automatically upload duty structures and times to the system, to ensure that only appropriate workload is aligned. However, ahead of that we have reaffirmed a commitment to ensure that drivers only receive workload that can be completed while meeting the route and ETA compliance within normal duty time.
On the bonus arrangements to ensure that the scheme can produce earnings driver performance has been measured against the targets over a number of weeks. Analysis has indicated that where compliance is in line with the conformance and the sequencing targets outlined, drivers will have the potential to achieve the higher levels of the scheme (pro-rata for part-time members). For our members, whether you currently love or hate Auto REX, on the basis of our analysis, we believe that if you follow the route and sequence you will have the opportunity to enhance earnings through Bonus.
It has also been agreed that any driver performance data produced will remain confidential to the individual and will not be displayed on notice boards or in league tables and the scheme will continue to be monitored by the Table of Success REX Working Group, who will provide support where required.
The department is aware that rumours in relation to the interim scheme have been circulating for some time which have created frustration and confusion. However we hope that everyone will understand that it was imperative that the scheme was tested fully before it was agreed to move to a formal launch, in order to ensure that it provided the genuine potential to be achieved and benefit members.
The new REX scheme will go live from Monday 15th June 2020. In conjunction with the launch of the new scheme a jointly agreed WTLL will be issued detailing the current updates to the REX software and a FAQ document will be circulated to Depots (Annexes B & C).
Branches and representatives will also note that advanced discussions are also underway in relation to new incentive schemes for the Depot based Indoor and Admin functions. Our members in those functions currently receive the depot FTD payment which is averaging around £3 per week where it is being paid, although many depots receive nothing.
Throughout the period of the FTD Scheme it has been a consistent criticism that members in the Admin and Indoor functions have no ability to influence the bonus payments. It has therefore been a priority to ensure that going forward that members who work in the Indoor and Admin functions have their own bonus schemes which recognises the work that they perform and applies appropriate targets, rather than being dependent on the performance of Drivers in the depot.
It was therefore agreed that we would jointly design schemes which provide the opportunity for Indoor and Admin members to achieve payments in line with the Interim Driver’s Scheme. The basis for the new schemes has now been agreed and as with the REX scheme the JWG are currently undertaking analysis to ensure that the targets are fair and that payments are achievable. It will be our intention to launch the schemes at the earliest opportunity and Branches and representatives will be kept updated on progress in this regard. Ahead of this as an interim measure our Indoor and Admin members will receive a payment of £4 per week (pro-rata for part-time members) until the new schemes are concluded and launched.
The department believes that the attached agreement will advance the efforts to resolve the current REX issues and provide recognition for the work and commitment of the membership, in what have been very difficult circumstances.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: email@example.com
quoting reference 105.01
LTB 308/20 https://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-mkljrlk-jtfltzjh-k/
Annex A – Final – Interim Rex Bonus Agreement – 11.06.20 https://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-mkljrlk-jtfltzjh-u/
Annex B – WTL_RX – Feedback June 2020 https://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-mkljrlk-jtfltzjh-o/
Annex C – REX FAQs Van Loading Stop Order v1.51 https://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-mkljrlk-jtfltzjh-b/
View Online https://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-mkljrlk-jtfltzjh-n/