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'A massive step forward' - CWU leaders on Royal Mail/CWU joint statement

02 Jul 2020, 09:09 ... statement/

Royal Mail commitments to assure Parcelforce’s role in the Royal Mail Group, fully respect the Four Pillars and Agenda for Growth agreements and to work with the union in developing new products and services have been hailed by Dave Ward and Terry Pullinger as a “massive” achievement.

And speaking to over 10,000 people on Tuesday evening’s Facebook live broadcast, our general secretary and deputy general secretary postal insisted that this significant move was because of the strength, support and solidarity of the members of this great union.
A period of intense top-level discussions has resulted in today’s game-changing joint statement, co-signed by Dave and Terry, as well as Keith Williams and Stuart Simpson – the company’s chairman and CEO respectively.

It is now hoped that the pledges contained within it will unlock the path to a lasting new national agreement on all of the issues that have been in dispute over this recent period and set Royal Mail on the right path to a positive future for our members, for our customers and also for the industry itself.

The April 2020 pay settlement will also be addressed promptly, while the union has committed to “accelerating” a “new approach” towards operational revision activity and improved efficiency – and the previously agreed ‘flight path’ towards a 35-hour working week is now back on schedule.

Speaking to members, Dave said: “We’re in a position now where we’ve made real progress. I hope you read the statement and see that the dispute has changed significantly in our favour.

“This letter couldn’t have been delivered without your support – and without the company knowing that it wasn’t enough that the CEO would go, and that there must be a different direction.”

He added: “To be clear, this doesn’t mean the dispute is over.

“But it’s the right thing, we think, to get stuck into some serious talks with the company, and we have a good platform to do that.”

Terry reminded us that “we’ve been in dispute for two years,” and that our existing agreements had been “on the line,“ so although the CWU side had been encouraged by the change in company leadership, it was vital that the business made some serious movements in order to rebuild the union’s trust, he explained, adding: “There was a lot of trust to rebuild.
“It was absolutely important that me and Dave got in the room with them and asked where we are going – and this joint statement speaks volumes. It provides a platform to start us off working together and to deal in a genuine way.”

Terry made clear that the only reason why he and Dave were in a positive position with regard to the company was “because of your strength as a union and as a membership.

“There are other unions around this country trying to deal with the impacts of where we are who’d love to be in the position we’re in,” he said and added that it was “refreshing” to hear Mr Williams and Mr Simpson “telling us it should be about growth.”

Moving forward on revisions and efficiencies must also mean that April 2020 pay is resolved and, with the joint pledges to adhere to all of the Four Pillars commitments, the agreed flight-path to a 35-hour week comes back onto schedule.

Both Dave and Terry paid particular attention to the company’s decision not to separate off Parcelforce, which was “great news for members in Parcelforce and also great news for the whole membership.”

The plan that the previous company leadership had put forward last year would have meant that “our core business would have withered and died” and, just seven years into privatisation, we would “seen the break-up of this company.”

They also warmly welcomed the company’s change of tone, and the new joint commitment to working for growth and for new products and services.

Dave said that the CWU is “trying to build on the fact that our workers are key workers. You are our greatest asset in rebuilding what this company could look like. While there is a crisis, what comes with that are opportunities as well.

“We’ve got an unrivalled infrastructure, we could do so many things, and we have always felt that what the previous plans seemed to be about was setting Royal Mail up like the only thing it could ever be was another glorified parcels carrier.”

Terry made the further point that diversifying the range of services that our members can offer to the public and to businesses would be of great benefit to all going forward and that the future must be “all about growth, vision and genuinely try to diversity.

“We’ll build on the fact that you’ve clearly shown this to be an essential service and that you are key workers,” he pledged, adding that the CWU would hope to work out a joint strategy, with Royal Mail, to protect the USO and to present the plan to government.”

CWU head of comms Chris Webb, who chaired the facebook live session, thanked Dave and Terry and also thanked an estimated 10,000+ members who had viewed the broadcast.

“This has been really positive this evening and we’re really looking forward to speaking with you both again soon,” he said to our GS and DGSP, adding that, “maybe,” a future session might even feature the Royal Mail senior leadership alongside them.

'A massive step forward' - CWU leaders on Royal Mail/CWU joint statement

02 Jul 2020, 09:10


Since the departure of Rico Back, Terry and myself have had a number of discussions with the Chairman of the Royal Mail Board and the new CEO. We have now been able to agree a Joint Statement that represents a very important breakthrough in our dispute.

Firstly, it includes upfront commitments from the company that will show we have shifted them on some of the fundamental issues at the heart of the dispute.

Secondly, we have moved Royal Mail away from executive action on local revision activity. There is a joint recognition that we must now quickly address the immediate operational and financial challenges facing the company and our members from accelerated letter decline and parcel growth. This will take full account of the ongoing impact of COVID19.

Thirdly, there is a process for talks to reach an overall agreement, resolve the dispute and agree a new strategy for the future.

The dispute is not over – but the Joint Statement represents real progress in setting out a different direction for the company. Particularly pleased that Royal Mail has now abandoned its plans to set up a separate parcels company. Instead they have committed to developing an expanded role for postal workers, supporting local communities, growing local and regional businesses, using our unrivalled infrastructure to assist in recovering the UK economy and bringing forward a green new deal for the country.

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