13th October 2023
For the URGENT attention of:
Royal Mail Divisional Representatives
Area Processing Representatives
Area Distribution/ RDC Representatives
BRT&G Agreement – Key Principles – Mail Centre Supernumeraries & Surpluses – Dispute Resolution Procedure
Further to LTB 245/23 circulated on the 28th September 2023 Branches will be aware of the continuing unacceptable approach Royal Mail continues to apply to our displaced members in Mail Centres. As previously reported the Union believed that an agreement had been reached on Key Principles in late September. Royal Mail subsequently withdrew their support for that agreement and tabled a revised document which removed the necessary guarantees and protections on which the Key Principles were founded. The revised document was rejected by our Postal Executive and the matter escalated to the Chief Operating Officer and Chief People Officer.
The Union has remained committed to securing an agreement to take pressure off our members and as such further talks took place last week and this week with the senior HR team. A further draft proposal was received yesterday from Royal Mail which is again completely unacceptable and would require the Union to agree that Royal Mail’s Regional Redeployment Programme, including the use of Redeployment pools has replaced the Nationally agreed Managing the Surplus Framework (MTSF).
Under no circumstances will the CWU agree to a weakening of the MTSF Agreement. It is clear that Royal Mail will not reach an agreement other than on their terms, which would undermine the MTSF agreement which has provided fundamental protections for our members for over 20 years.
This is not solely a Mail Centre issue but one that affects all CWU members in Royal Mail Group.
Branches will recall that we had registered National DRP’s on the current approach in Mail Centres but also in regard to the BRT&G commitment at section 3.1.3 of that agreement where Royal Mail reaffirmed their commitment to MTSF:
3.1.3 With the exception of VR compensation terms, the full terms of the Existing MTSF process for Voluntary Redundancies will apply, including how surpluses and redeployments are managed.
Given the actions of the company we consider Royal Mail to be in breach of the MTSF agreement and therefore in breach of the BRT&G agreement. In line with section 2.6.3 the Union will refer the matter to ACAS for support and facilitation to ensure that Royal Mail implement the BRT&G agreement in full including the commitments in 3.1.3.
In the view of the CWU the actions of the senior Royal Mail management team in unilaterally deploying a process which is clearly incompatible with the terms of MTSF and is designed to isolate and pressure our members is frankly a disgrace. They have had every opportunity to amicably resolve this matter and have continually refused to do so.
For our members currently forced into the unagreed Redeployment process we would reiterate the advice given in LTB 245/23:
On the basis of Royal Mails’ commitment to MTSF Processes in section 3.1.3 of the BRT&G agreement, Members and Representatives are reminded of the following:
No employee can be subject to compulsory redundancy.
No employee can be forced to reduce their contracted hours or grade. Should any individual choose to do so then Buy Down compensation must apply.
Under no circumstances should our members be compelled to apply for external jobs, if they wish to remain in Royal Mail employment.
Under the terms of MTSF the responsibility for identifying reasonable alternative redeployment opportunities lies with the business. It is not the responsibility of the individual to search for alternative internal vacancies.
Any redeployment offers must be progressed in line with MTSF processes and the onus is on management to make suitable job offers.
A Zoom Briefing of Divisional and Area Processing Representatives will take place on Monday, 16th October 2023 to provide a full update and discuss next steps, details of which will follow and tailored coms and advice are being prepared for our Mail Centre members.
Given the circumstances we would reiterate that all Rule 13 ballot requests received in relation to this issue will be progressed by the PE as a matter of urgency.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: email@example.com quoting reference: 733.02.
Andy Furey – A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal)
Davie Robertson – Assistant Secretary