Last Mile Brief 25/05/2023: Royal Mail labour dispute saga rolls on as union suspends pay deal ballot

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Last Mile Brief 25/05/2023: Royal Mail labour dispute saga rolls on as union suspends pay deal ballot
Photo: Jack Regan / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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In the last ten days, the Royal Mail has announced huge losses as well as the departure of its CEO, Simon Thompson. Now it has emerged that the Royal Mail’s woes are from over as the CWU union has suspended its ballot on the pay and conditions deal it had agreed with the postal operator.

The CWU confirmed the move in a press release on Wednesday, claiming it had suspended the ballot in part due to Royal Mail Group having not stepped back from their attacks in the workplace.

“Unless Royal Mail Group openly accept that their culture of imposition and the ‘our business to run’ mantra must go – then the integrity of the negotiators agreement will be irreparably damaged,” says the union.

The statement from the union added:

“The CWU has made it clear to Royal Mail Group that unless we seriously revisit failed revisions, restore quality of service and end USO failures the business will not succeed. Royal Mail Group committed to this as the first step of the agreement but their ongoing actions and what you are seeing and feeling in the workplace do not in any way reflect this.”

The CWU writes that all of the following conditions must be met before the ballot can be resumed:

  1. In line with section 2.5 of the agreement (Improving Quality of Service and USO Compliance), immediate measures must be agreed to restore quality of service and genuinely review all failed revisions.
  2. A mass zoom meeting for every CWU Representative and Manager in the UK to confirm the measures we agree with the company will be implemented. This must also cover the following:
    • A pause on year 3 revisions until quality of service is restored and productivity measures are realistic and achievable.
    • The full restoration of the IR Framework agreement – including acceptance that savings targets are negotiable.
    • The right for part-time members to move to full-time / increase their contractual hours (on current terms and conditions) ahead of bringing in new entrants.
  3.  All offices are in receipt of their proposed finish times.

“This must be the wakeup call that senior management need to change the culture of imposition, command and control and finally show the humility required to deliver the agreement and change in a way that takes the workforce with them. We have written to Royal Mail Group in line with the above and are awaiting their response,” concluded the CWU’s press release.

It is nonetheless important to stress that although the CWU claims its decision to suspend the ballot is down to the Royal Mail, there may be other reasons.

In recent weeks, the union itself has come under fire on social media and from socialist media outlets like World Socialist Web Site, who have accused the CWU of selling out to the Royal Mail and short-changing postal staff.

The decision to suspend the ballot could therefore allow the union to spare its blushes and also have more dialogue with its members before either going back to the Royal Mail with revisions or pushing forward with the vote.

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Photo: Jack Regan / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

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