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Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

01 Jul 2020, 23:31

The Joint Statement agreed by the CWU represents an important breakthrough in our dispute.

For the last two years , the CWU and Royal Mail have been at loggerheads over the company abandoning the 4 Pillars Agreement and wanting to withdraw from the legal protections which stopped the worst impacts from privatisation.

In fact the last year has seen Royal Mail wanting to TUPE parcelforce staff which would have seen an attack of their terms and conditions. Which would have than meant that Royal Mail would have put the growth in parcel traffic into this new company to be done cheaper.

The end result would have been to manage decline in Royal Mail letters.

Less than 6 months ago they started introducing change into offices without agreement and they also wanted the CWU to accept their whole Journey Transformation plan on a basis of a 3 year pay agreement.

When the CWU declared another massive yes vote on 17th March , it had become apparent life as we knew it was changing under the world wide pandemic.

Whilst every part of Royal Mail has been impacted by the COVID 19 crisis , perhaps delivery has been impacted the greatest.

It is clear the average delivery office looks far different now than before the COVID 19 pandemic.

Everything from one person in a van , to pre starts , USO failures , higher sick leave , cars back on delivery , staff starting from home , staff getting public transport to meet their CDV , the list is endless to what has changed since COVID.

Perhaps the biggest change is that due to the furloughing of so many businesses and the fact so many companies were working from home that letter traffic has reduced significantly.

The reverse has happened for parcels and tracked products , where this has seen record levels of increases.

Due to the fact that the majority of letters are automated, they are more profitable, especially as we are the USO provider.

Whereas parcels are subject to much wider competition and the margins for profit are therefore on average much lower.

We fully realise that for the average postal worker in an office has possibly never worker as hard, due to the rise in parcels / tracked and the restrictions which have been installed by ensuring social distancing is applied.

Since the COVID pandemic the CWU have pushed the company on PPE , social distancing, a payment for working during the pandemic, to resolve our pay round and a resolution to our dispute.

The Royal Mail board ended Rico Back reign as CEO. It was clear that Rico’s strategy was based on defeating the CWU in order to have a free reign to attack terms and conditions including ending the 6 day USO.

The CWU have since Rico’s departure been locked into talks over getting a framework for negotiations over all the key aspects of our dispute.

Remember these talks were now with a different Royal Mail negotiating team.

The Joint Statement which has now been agreed, will mean that detailed negotiations will now take place over the future direction of the company.

However the company has now agreed the following up front

1. The TUPE of Parcelforce is off the table.

2. That the Four Pillars values and intent is still in play. This commits the company to the principle of the 35 hour gross working week without loss to pay or meal relief.

3. Royal Mail have recommitted to the legal guarantees which stops the company breaking up different parts of the business , outsourcing work , from franchising parts of the organisation and from introducing a two tier workforce.

This is hugely significant given the financial position of the company. The legal guarantees also prevent from compulsory redundancies.

The Joint Statement also commits negotiations on the following over the next month.

1. Understanding the Financial position of the company.

2. Discussions over what revisions and trials can be introduced , taking into account the Inpact of COVID.

3. A resolution to Pay 2020 which was due in April.

4. The resolution to our dispute , including a new agreed strategy. This includes what new technology is used and deployed.

5. Royal Mail have commuted to the USO . This is significant due to the backdrop of Of Com consultation on the sustainability of the USO which will be published later this year.

6. The company have committed to looking at how letter decline can be tackled and what other growth opportunities we could capture. This builds on the fact that postal workers are key workers and so valuable to the local community.

So the joint statement should be viewed as the first step in agreeing the future.

But be in no doubt that these negotiations are going to be possibly the biggest since the ending of the second delivery and will mean major change.

However despite negativity by some , the CWU is perfectly positioned to get the best deal for the membership because our members understand that a strong CWU is in their best interests.

So recognise the Joint Statement for what it is ! An important breakthrough in our long dispute . However the negotiations on all the detail will now start !

Make sure you continue to back your union !

Joint statement now let’s get into the real negotiations

01 Jul 2020, 23:40

Are the CWU going to do anything to keep the ballot live?

Joint statement now let’s get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 06:22

So recognise the Joint Statement for what it is !


I've read it through a few times Martin and it is what it is, an agreement to more talks but until we know where Royal Mail actually sees the business going we're not really any further forward other than we've agreed a truce.

Something bothers me though, the joint statement only commits the two parties to agree a pay settlement for April 2020, that's not a very hopeful sign.

Also I don't think there's anyone involved who really believes that the complex issues facing the business can be resolved in the time frame stated, it is very disheartening and reflects poorly on the union when these things drag on beyond their predicted end date.

What can be done to try to ensure that we don't allow these talks to become bogged down and would it be possible for the union to understand that we're not all as enthralled by Facebook and Twitter as Mr Webb so perhaps we could remember that we're a workplace union and also remember that it is incumbent on our office reps to disseminate information in the traditional way not just by emailing a Facebook link to their members.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 11:00

Surely a VR scoping exercise in every office would be a good idea, especially whilst the current terms and conditions are still in place?
If not, some will probably just leave anyway. They are, of course, never replaced so surely better to give them the opportunity to leave with something?
The net effect in either scenario is less staff.
Those terms and conditions have been fought for over the years (and continue to be) but what's the point of them if, in the case of VRs at least, the rep doesn't want to entertain the idea?

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 15:07

Martin Walsh wrote:

The Joint Statement also commits negotiations on the following over the next month.

1. Understanding the Financial position of the company.

2. Discussions over what revisions and trials can be introduced , taking into account the Inpact of COVID.

3. A resolution to Pay 2020 which was due in April.

4. The resolution to our dispute , including a new agreed strategy. This includes what new technology is used and deployed.

5. Royal Mail have committed to the USO . This is significant due to the backdrop of Of Com consultation on the sustainability of the USO which will be published later this year.

6. The company have committed to looking at how letter decline can be tackled and what other growth opportunities we could capture. This builds on the fact that postal workers are key workers and so valuable to the local community.

So the joint statement should be viewed as the first step in agreeing the future.

1. It isn't great.
2.Revisions and trials - we have been here before. Any trials that cause job losses are blocked by interminable disagreements. That is why they started using executive action.
3. An hour off the week and that is it. (See point 1)
4. The resolution to a dispute that has rumbled on for a year to be thrashed out in a month by Zoom? I won't hold my breath. If it has taken this long to agree a joint statement I don't see them actually agreeing anything substantive in the next month. I hope I am wrong.
5. The commitment means nothing. (See point 1 again.)
6. What exactly are RM (or anyone) going to do about letter decline. Maybe we should all start pen friend clubs?
And here we are again discussing us subbing for gardeners and mental health professionals. Here is your parcel - shall I cut your hair, mow your lawn and then you can pop the kettle on and we'll have a nice chat about your depression?

And over all this looms the shadow of Kretinsky and the possible sell off of GLS -(you now the company that is tantamount to modern day slavery that pays our wages). Either of those things would render every detail of the discussions meaningless.
Obviously in the wake of the financial report a joint statement was necessary to try and calm the nerves and steady the ship but I don't think anyone has been fooled.
I don't have any confidence in either side looking after the interests of the hard working posties up and down the land. Lions led by donkeys talking to other donkeys.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 15:55

So basically we're back to square one

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 16:20

For years we were told that letters were loss making, and that parcels were the future, now we are being told the opposite, go figure.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 16:44

Years worth of talks to be told in a joint statement there is to be more talks.Another live ballot out of the window.I'm getting frustrated because our employer has shown time and time again that they adhere to nothing,more commitments to talks,even old Rico said he was committed but it didn't mean much.
The 2018 agreement was poor in the first place the CWU want the RM to affirm the legal binding contract-so legally binding that when RM so say broke agreements we didn't have them in court.
The pay agreement was linked to productivity and savings and RM simply said it wasn't affordable and there was nothing the CWU could do.
RM committing to the USO means exactly that,look at the language used previously.They want a USO that reflects the times which of course is a 5 day week.They say they are committed to a USO not a 6 day USO.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 17:36

clashcityrocker wrote:
Martin Walsh wrote:

The Joint Statement also commits negotiations on the following over the next month.

1. Understanding the Financial position of the company.

2. Discussions over what revisions and trials can be introduced , taking into account the Inpact of COVID.

3. A resolution to Pay 2020 which was due in April.

4. The resolution to our dispute , including a new agreed strategy. This includes what new technology is used and deployed.

5. Royal Mail have committed to the USO . This is significant due to the backdrop of Of Com consultation on the sustainability of the USO which will be published later this year.

6. The company have committed to looking at how letter decline can be tackled and what other growth opportunities we could capture. This builds on the fact that postal workers are key workers and so valuable to the local community.

So the joint statement should be viewed as the first step in agreeing the future.

1. It isn't great.
2.Revisions and trials - we have been here before. Any trials that cause job losses are blocked by interminable disagreements. That is why they started using executive action.
3. An hour off the week and that is it. (See point 1)
4. The resolution to a dispute that has rumbled on for a year to be thrashed out in a month by Zoom? I won't hold my breath. If it has taken this long to agree a joint statement I don't see them actually agreeing anything substantive in the next month. I hope I am wrong.
5. The commitment means nothing. (See point 1 again.)
6. What exactly are RM (or anyone) going to do about letter decline. Maybe we should all start pen friend clubs?
And here we are again discussing us subbing for gardeners and mental health professionals. Here is your parcel - shall I cut your hair, mow your lawn and then you can pop the kettle on and we'll have a nice chat about your depression?

And over all this looms the shadow of Kretinsky and the possible sell off of GLS -(you now the company that is tantamount to modern day slavery that pays our wages). Either of those things would render every detail of the discussions meaningless.
Obviously in the wake of the financial report a joint statement was necessary to try and calm the nerves and steady the ship but I don't think anyone has been fooled.
I don't have any confidence in either side looking after the interests of the hard working posties up and down the land. Lions led by donkeys talking to other donkeys.


For what its worth no sell off of GLS and set to remain in RMG though as you point out just words.

Letter decline could be better managed by scrapping DSA now out of the EU but same economic reasoning is used by the Tories .Until the
pandemic arrived letter traffic along with increased parcels was more than resource in my area and failures common.

Scotland & Northern Ireland Division claiming the ballot will be kept live

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 17:43

Danelectro wrote:Letter decline could be better managed by scrapping DSA now out of the EU but same economic reasoning is used by the Tories

I believe that would require a change to the Postal Services Act

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 18:05

More joint statements and claptrap.
It's all very well bleating on about covid and loss of jobs etc but we've heard it all before, `a new dawn` `cultural shift` `deal of the century` ` working together,`
The union keep going on about legal guarantees but they can't even get the screws to follow the attendance procedure or conduct procedure correctly!

The higher up the union the more they want to stick their nose in the troughs whilst eroding your morale and working conditions, the turds in our office have been after changing our weekends for years and now the union has kicked our disagreement into the ditch(again) all in the name of a cosy new deal which no doubt will be more lapsing and more bullying , whilst they eat caviar and wank themselves into a frenzy over yet another new beginning.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 19:03

5. Royal Mail have committed to the USO . This is significant due to the backdrop of Of Com consultation on the sustainability of the USO which will be published later this year.


The actual words of the Joint Statement seem to suggest....

Developing a joint strategy to maintain the USO as part of the social fabric of the UK, including exploring the potential for new USO products to support its long-term economic sustainability.


... that the business supports a USO not the USO that we know and love. It's hardly putting themselves out there to suggest that they would like to support some version of a USO after all it's enshrined in law that there has to be one but I don't see any mention of what this might look like.

Basically it's a paragraph that's completely meaningless.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 19:11

For what its worth no sell off of GLS and set to remain in RMG though as you point out just words.


Where does it say that?

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

02 Jul 2020, 21:35

Maybe this one:

3. Royal Mail have recommitted to the legal guarantees which stops the company breaking up different parts of the business , outsourcing work , from franchising parts of the organisation and from introducing a two tier workforce.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

03 Jul 2020, 01:28

Couldn't Royal Mail become like Amazon and become a retailer + delivery company and sell everything and anything online. Set up a few massive warehouses and do what Amazon does. Everything sold there gets delivered by us. It seems that sooner or later everyone will be ordering goods online expecting a same day service. The easiest way we could offer a same day service is by selling goods ourselves.

Royal Shopping
Royal Foods
Royal Mail

Would be jobs galore.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

03 Jul 2020, 05:29

Janet Brum wrote:Maybe this one:

3. Royal Mail have recommitted to the legal guarantees which stops the company breaking up different parts of the business , outsourcing work , from franchising parts of the organisation and from introducing a two tier workforce.


GLS isn't covered by the legal guarantees.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

03 Jul 2020, 05:36

norris9 wrote:Couldn't Royal Mail become like Amazon and become a retailer + delivery company and sell everything and anything online. Set up a few massive warehouses and do what Amazon does. Everything sold there gets delivered by us. It seems that sooner or later everyone will be ordering goods online expecting a same day service. The easiest way we could offer a same day service is by selling goods ourselves.

Royal Shopping
Royal Foods
Royal Mail

Would be jobs galore.


I might be wrong but I'm sure I read that Amazon's retail arm doesn't actually make any profit or is possibly even loss making... all their profit comes from the digital services they provide.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

03 Jul 2020, 18:52

wacko74 wrote:
norris9 wrote:Couldn't Royal Mail become like Amazon and become a retailer + delivery company and sell everything and anything online. Set up a few massive warehouses and do what Amazon does. Everything sold there gets delivered by us. It seems that sooner or later everyone will be ordering goods online expecting a same day service. The easiest way we could offer a same day service is by selling goods ourselves.

Royal Shopping
Royal Foods
Royal Mail

Would be jobs galore.


I might be wrong but I'm sure I read that Amazon's retail arm doesn't actually make any profit or is possibly even loss making... all their profit comes from the digital services they provide.


From google:

'Amazon intentionally posts low profits because it takes the vast majority of the money it earns and invests it right back into the company so that it will profit all the more in the future'.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

03 Jul 2020, 20:46

What happened to the strategy of 'managing the decline' of letters and focussing on parcels?

Well, for what its worth I think that focussing more on the letter revenue is the right strategy. During lockdown our parcel volumes have exploded to record levels and letter traffic fell; but the company have just not been making the profits they were. Yes the coronavirus has led to absences but its just the same for other couriers. There is a load of competition in parcels because everyones buying online these days, but we only ever made a healthy profit when we deliver the parcels with the letters. We cannot compete with other couriers if we just deliver parcels because our business model is massively different. If our hands are tied by OfCom in regards to the USO then we better make sure that we focus on expanding the letter business, because after all, we are the sole provider and its the one USP that we have right now. Before anyone says that letters are dying because of e-mail, well, it has been going for 500 years. It is what we are about and surely it makes sense to have a load of letters to deliver when we got a ton of smaller packets (that other couriers really aren't interested in due to the margins) to deliver as well. Who knows, maybe D2D revenue will pick up when all the supermarkets, DIY stores and takeaway chains are still all competing for business.

We are just not in the same league as Amazon financially. Royal Mail do have visions of large automated parcel hubs and it will costs us billions; thats probably Jeff Bezos' beer money right now and small change for a company like Amazon who are still only paying like 1% tax. However, I've seen the TV adverts of Amazon and how they are such a great company to work for and that it provides employment for UK people. Such a shame they are not regulated the same as Royal Mail. Maybe then charge a premium or refuse to deliver any packets that Amazon cannot handle. But then you realise that if everyone is in competition with Amazon from books and kindles to online goods and now packaging and delivery. It might not show it in the share price right now but sooner or later these giants will stumble in the same way that Virgin with all its megastores did.

Joint statement now let's get into the real negotiations

04 Jul 2020, 08:32

postslippete wrote:We cannot compete with other couriers if we just deliver parcels because our business model is massively different. If our hands are tied by OfCom in regards to the USO then we better make sure that we focus on expanding the letter business, because after all, we are the sole provider and its the one USP that we have right now. Before anyone says that letters are dying because of e-mail, well, it has been going for 500 years. It is what we are about and surely it makes sense to have a load of letters to deliver when we got a ton of smaller packets (that other couriers really aren't interested in due to the margins) to deliver as well.


Why can't the USO be kept in place, but just introduce another letter delivery option, call it 3rd Class, or change the 2nd Class service. Whatever you call it..... it's a service where you can send a letter and it will be delivered on the following Tuesday. A cheaper service for non-urgent mail.

Most of the mail we deliver is non-urgent so I'd assume banks, HMRC, billing companies, etc may end up using this cheaper service that I just invented.

This is all just a theory. Maybe it would not work like this. Maybe banks and billing companies would rather pay more to get statements/bills to their customers quickly. Who knows. RM could ask them if they would be interested in a cheaper Tuesday only delivery service and see what their thoughts are.

I suppose the issue here is if a major company or the government need to mass mail every UK citizen urgently, then would RM still be able to provide that service as the whole point in my idea above is for RM to focus on delivering parcels + a small amount of urgent letters. How would you fit in a sudden influx of polling cards into your parcel/urgent letter delivery....

Maybe RM should offload the USO to the government and the government set up a letter delivering service. RM rids itself of letters and can focus solely on parcels. The government takes on workers and lets them job and finish. :nana

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