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Royal Mail breaking the law by refusing agency internal vacancies

07 Mar 2019, 04:24

Royal Mail Group Limited ("RM") have been recently found breaking the law regarding refusing the agency workers the right to apply for internal vacancies. It is the Regulation 13 of the AWR 2010, "Rights of agency workers in relation to access to employment", that allows you to apply for internal vacancies at your hirer, even if you are not 12-week qualified, you can apply on the first day of your work, if you lucky enough to encounter internal jobs being advertised.

You can find a decision of Leeds Employment Tribunal regarding this matter here: ... 05245-2018

Royal Mail have advertised around 25 jobs - they call them "duties" - in their Leeds Mail Centre and, as always, probably like in every other Mail Centre in the UK, they were only open to their own permanent staff. That is the official Royal Mail position: internal vacancies are only for our staff and agency workers can get stuffed.

And they lost. The Employment Tribunal ruled against them - their "vacant duties" are real jobs, real vacancies and temporary agency workers should be allowed to apply for them, as per Reg 13 of the AWR 2010.

RM also lost a previous case involving Leeds Mail Centre in Leeds Employment Tribunal (case number: 1801535/16, 1801536/16, 1801608/16, 1801609/16) which involved more than fifty vacancies being advertised as "vacant duties" and (as always) excluding agency workers from applying. On this occasion Royal Mail ("RM") admitted the liability, so technically they had not "been found" in breach of Reg 13 - they admitted it, they own up to it. A compensation for lost earnings and future earnings had been paid. Of course, RM had not changed their ways, as paying compensations and resisting any changes is the order of the day at RM.

So they continue to this day to advertise internal vacancies/duties only to their own permanent staff and so suffered another Employment Tribunal claim, which they lost (the one I mentioned earlier,1805244/2018-and-1805245/2018). This time they resisted the claim but lost nonetheless. The compensation in this case is yet to be decided as it is a quite recent case.

As far as I am aware, in all RM Mail Centres in the UK, agency workers are never allowed to apply for vacant duties due to either RM's general obstinacy or maybe some kind of agreement with the CWU union, to only distribute work around their own permanent staff.

RM distributes their internal jobs according to a "seniority number" every permanent member of staff has, which is related to the date when they joined the business - the earlier start date, the better (longer serving employees have better, lower numbers and get preferential treatment when it comes to decide who gets the job when many employees apply for the same duty).

You, as a agency worker, have no number whatsoever, so you can forget ever being taken into consideration regarding internal jobs - you are basically outside of the whole system, by not having this "seniority number" in the first place.

How far you really are "out of the system" is up to you to find out and test - if it is lawful at all, as you can basically take RM to an Employment Tribunal every time they advertise their internal jobs and demand for the judgment to be passed, if what they do is lawful at all. They already lost twice. They admitted error in their approach once already. When they resisted, they been found in breach of Reg 13. Look at the Reg 13 of AWR. RM will argue that their internal "duties" are not real jobs really but judges on two occasions thought otherwise. Go figure.

No need to thank me for this little piece of advice - everybody wants to have a secured, permanent job and not a zero-hours agency contract, when you do not know the next hour of your job and RM and Angard can do whatever they want with you - they hold all the cards - just do or say something RM management do not like and that is it for you, not even an explanation or warning, just your trusty Angard consultant will tell you that it is very quiet at the moment - for you only, obviously - and you will never even know why that happened.

You may just as well start looking for another job, they usually act behind your back, behind the scenes, RM and Angard exchanging names of good workers (then more calls/texts from Angard = more shifts) and bad ones (blacklisting = no contact, no work). Be careful, they will never admit it (it is not allowed as you should have the right to defend/explain yourself in case of any trouble), but rest assured they are doing this. They just can't be bothered with giving you a chance or a disciplinary, as they can get a hundred new starters for your place immediately.

Thank god, for me!

Royal Mail breaking the law by refusing agency internal vacancies

07 Mar 2019, 18:27

I think you will find that ACAS are now handling similar claims against both companies.

Surely the ETs will get exasperated by the companies’ refusal to abide by both the law and judgements and set exemplary fines and rewards?

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