CWU's Terry Pullinger (DGSP) Letter To Royal Mail Executive Management On Using The Media To Label Us As "Luddites" (The Times)
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Royal Mail Group
As you are aware CWU members (your employees) have been victims of negative and growing media activity which suggests it is them that has held back this great public service. Unfortunately quotes from the Interim Executive Chairman have done nothing to dismiss these accusations or defend its hardworking workforce, which as you can imagine is extremely disappointing given the truly incredible way CWU members have stepped up to serve the public during this pandemic.
In truth, the lack of genuine investment in our estate and our equipment, especially during the first five years of privatisation with increased shareholder return year on year, has much more to do with our capability than the dedicated CWU members who have maintained industry leading quality of service throughout the years, and, even throughout this unprecedented and difficult period, continue to be recognised as the most trusted workforce on the doorstep.
It is time the business stopped blaming the CWU and started to examine managerial leadership and prolonged decision making. The honest position is that increased parcel processing capability in the form of new automated parcel hubs (something the company major on when speaking to the market) will not be available for a minimum of 18 months, yet the growth in parcels is happening now.
The CWU are of the opinion that the focus is all wrong and that we need to open up and utilise the maximum capability of our current estate, facilities and fleet 24/7. Our current position in terms of traffic demographics will not only be a Christmas opportunity but will continue beyond that. It is obvious that the growth trends and opportunities will not wait for 18 months therefore we need to ensure that the company’s objectives in the round do not undermine the opportunity that our competitors are investing in. Our competitors have spoken of huge investment and are making this in estate, automation, fleet, manpower and green agenda strategies, yet RMG talk of cuts in terms and conditions and jobs in what appears to be the same myopic manner as before.
One of the best examples of managerial strategies clashing in a negative way is the approach of Fleet. At a time when the challenge for the availability of our fleet is at an all-time high (either because of safe working practices or the need for us to maximise its usage) Fleet Engineering Solutions have been clashing with the CWU over RMG’s desire to cut jobs, cut extra duty solutions and in doing so reduce maximum usage opportunities and increase the potential number of vehicles and trailers off the road.
I understand that the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is approximately 97.7% availability, but due to Fleet management’s decision to defer has seen Vehicle Off-Road (VOR) rise to over 3000 which equates to 94% vehicle availability and 84% for trailers. This approach has not helped the business in addressing the need for vehicles and has potentially played a part in the business recklessly encouraging the use of shared vans as Covid-19 enters a harsher 2nd phase than the 1st phase, which artificially increases availability/usage of vehicles whilst placing members at risk of a spike in infection rates.
Clearly we disagree about the risk of shared vans at this stage of the Covid-19 journey but I would be interested to learn your views regarding the position and proposals of the Fleet Engineering Solution leads and reconcile them with the need to increase our capability.
In considering the above perhaps you will also consider how other managerial policies, when taken or reviewed in isolation, are actually counter-productive to the current language of priorities and overall objectives.
I believe the company’s current position in negotiations is another strong case in point, it seems obvious to the CWU what the immediate priorities are and yet we appear stalled by managerial thinking that the company has been pushing since 2017. We should not be battling over shareholder pleasing statements, the company should stop blaming CWU members for its failings and we should concentrate on immediate joint activity that makes a real difference today.
I thank you for your time and look forward to your views on the above.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)