The 2018 Deal – Justice for the 89.1% - RESPONSE
Legally Binding Partnership
There isn’t a ‘no strike deal’ and if that was the case then Industrial Action that has taken place around the UK would have been challenged and it factually hasn’t been. In the event there had been a ‘no strike deal’, then when notification was given to RM in 2017 they would have challenged it at the time, not after we had produced the ’89.1% yes vote’. When the legal challenge was presented it was not the case that we could not take strike action, but that RM felt that the legally binding process had not been completed. The CWU believed it had.
Throughout the Agreement the Union’s role is at the forefront of undertaking trials, which will ultimately lead to new National Agreements on a number of subjects. This does not define our role as a ‘strategic partner’ rather that we negotiate and have a crucial role to play to enhance and influence the terms and conditions for our members in the future!!!
To be clear, there are no changes to T&C’s and/or ripping up ways of working; all we have agreed at this juncture is trial activity, and flexibility will be in line with existing National Agreements. In respect of efficiency and productivity, it has been accepted by RM that WIPGH as a measure is un-agreed and we will both jointly work together to ensure any measure is agreed and understood, and the current agreements will hold the field.
Delivery from 7am-7pm is CWU policy as we look to capture growth; however this is primarily more for items that are not delivered as part of the core USO model. Once up the path and in the interim this will be for 80 units only and at the maximum levels circa 300 units, therefore it will not be all workers! We are saying that we should be using it in a positive fashion to create innovative duty structures, increase PT hours and create new jobs, not turning away new work!
In respect of changes to Delivery duty times, it cannot be lost on anyone that 82% of units have no changes, and then 10% change by up to 15 minutes which, with the impact of the 1 hour of the working week, ultimately increases that to 92%. Some of the remaining units will be able to do more through the verification process to mitigate the impact further and we have agreed that this process must be completed 3 months prior to deployment, to ensure individual circumstances can be addressed as a responsible union would ensure.
There is a raft of automation that is currently being explored by RM which will have impacts on current workloads such as Parcels Automation, Increased Walk Sequencing, Compact Large Letter and Letter Automation/TOPS2000 Buddy Walk Sortation, D2D Automation and software upgrades to technology and machines to enhance accuracy/read rates as well as throughputs, which will all mean less workload for Manual tasks, both in Processing and Delivery that take place. This demonstrates how important the reductions in the working week will be to sustain FT jobs.
Undertaking trials quicker is linked purely at looking to create new products and services and not some of the major changes, for example the delivery methods trial is for a minimum of 6 months and that is what is referred to, so each trial will be reviewed on its own merits and have its own timescales. As a Union we always put in place reviews for trials and ensure that any outputs always flow through to either a Joint Statement or New Agreement, thus they will not worsen conditions faster.
We have not agreed to sorting and preparing products outdoors and the trial activity will determine what the possibilities could be in a future design/agreement.
In respect of efficiency, all companies will look to improve that, but that doesn’t mean it relates to individuals, this could mean environmental benefits from reducing CO2 emissions through fleet mileage reductions and better ways of working, smarter not harder.
The new Delivery Agreement will be subject to discussions from the outputs from trial activity as well as the joint visits to Delivery Offices. We have confirmed that the 15:30 last letter time for residential and 16:30 for rural will still be in place and it has been confirmed that will remain for a minimum of 3 years. CWU believes there is the ability to have more deliveries out on delivery earlier and should look to maximise timed deliveries in the a.m. period.
The LAT i.e. till 7pm is a new growth opportunity that we need to get into the market to secure FT jobs and ensure that RM gains the revenue associated through this to continue to achieve industry-leading terms and conditions, as well as achieving job security. In addition rather than being viewed as negative, this should be seen as a positive in order to create extra FT jobs and innovative duty structures.
It is true that after the first 2 hours reduction to the working week, the New Delivery Agreement will be the enabler to achieve the 35 hour week, which given the challenges being faced, is fundamental and the new agreement will potentially allow this to be achieved before 2022.
Part Time Holiday Pay
It does not overlook the matter, the agreement gives clarity that the hours members regularly perform over and above contracted hours should be reviewed and reflected by being turned into contracted hours, which will go one step further to solving the holiday pay issue because these hours will then be done on a contractual basis.
It has also been agreed between both parties that further discussions/negotiations will continue on the outstanding issues relating to the current legal cases for holiday pay, this will be for all employees FT and PT.
Support for Workers
Absolutely not correct, the agreement is crystal clear that resourcing meetings must take place and will be enhanced through agreed checklists to ensure that each unit will assess their compliance against all resourcing agreements and joint statements.
Where this is not being complied against, an agreed action plan will be put in place and overseen by Area/ Divisional Representatives to ensure that it is complied with, which will include the review of Quality of Service at the same time, with the IR framework applicable if it hasn’t been achieved.
Closed Final Salary Pension
The DB scheme was actually closed 10 years ago and since then all new RM employees (40,000 plus and counting) have been put in the inferior individual DC scheme. The CWU never agreed closure of the DB scheme to future accrual until we secured a proper, decent replacement. The need for transition reflects the fact that we wasted months in talks as RM simply refused to agree on one single wage in retirement scheme for all. The point on the interim pension is factually incorrect as members will receive both a target pension and a defined benefit cash lump sum.
In relation to Network Rail, the company actually offers three different schemes; the NR pension scheme, the NR defined contribution scheme (which is individual DC) and NR Care which is career average not final salary.
In the new RM scheme, all employees will be able to join regardless of length of service. In relation to the 12 months this is a pressure point from the CWU to the company so that they know the issue will not be allowed to drift. The union's call for collective pensions has cross party political support and is completely in line with CWU policy as agreed through national policy forums and annual conference.
Reduction in the Working Week
The reduction to 38 hours will in fact happen in October. What has been agreed is that we will undertake trials only for its introduction and not that it is subject to them being implemented or resourcing to workload, individual performance data etc, etc. The working day will be made up with various attendance times that suit the ability to create innovative duty structures, and the flightpath to 35 hours helps increase this even more.
New Full Time employees will be on the same hourly rate, and will be on single rate for overtime hours (up to 38 hours) and then each time the core FT week is reduced so will the single rate until both reach harmonisation.
The reduction of the 2nd hour to 37 hours is not dependant on inflation; it means that if that was 4% then as the pay rise is 2% we would look to use the difference i.e. the 2% as the funding formula to assist with the reduction in the 2nd hour. The aim will be to agree the new functional agreements and achieve the 35 hour working week (as a result of the above) and before 2022.
No one can be in any doubt that the CWU Negotiators have ensured that the Four Pillars and Pay Agreement has totally turned around the direction, thinking and strategy that RM had, and has ensured that this Agreement has achieved all of the CWU policies linked to the Four Pillars campaign.
Obviously there will be a tour of the country speaking to Unit Reps across the 10 briefings, to make sure those that ensured the 89.1% yes vote fully understand the agreement before going out to ballot and furthermore that everyone in the CWU knows that they have a role going forwards to ensure that the agreement is implemented within the workplace in the manner in which the words have been negotiated and concluded.
The CWU has the ability within the agreement to influence the future direction of the company and ensure we continue to enhance our member’s terms and conditions, alongside using the agreement to change the culture on the shop floor once and for all. If we don’t make that happen we will collectively have failed.
The 2018 Deal – Justice for the 89.1% - ABSOLUTELY 100%!!
Produced by Tony Bouch – PEC Member in a personal capacity