Joint Statement Between Royal Mail / CWU– Safety and Operational Arrangements during Covid-19

Introduction


Both parties are fully committed to working together in order to ensure we continue to focus on the key priorities set out back in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic within the UK.


 Protecting our people.

 Connecting and delivering right across the UK, whilst also playing a key role in fighting the pandemic.


 Protecting the business Coronavirus along with new variants of the virus, the continued lockdown and various governments and agencies advice continue to impact the Royal Mail operation in several ways.


Social Distancing and other safety measures remain vitally important, parcel volumes and overall workload continue to grow, and sick absence overall has increased. Sick absence associated with the pandemic in some units is exceptionally high due to cluster outbreaks placing significant strain on the operation and those colleagues who remain at work.


It is therefore important that we work together at all levels within our organisations in order to ensure safety standards are being maintained and operational contingencies are jointly deployed to minimise the disruption customers may experience.


Protecting our people - Working together on Safety Standards


All operational units should undertake a joint weekly safety inspection/tour to assess deployment of safety and Covid standards and jointly encourage compliance with all aspects of the safety measures we have deployed. This joint activity will involve the Unit Manager (PIC), the Unit IR rep and the Unit Safety Rep or Area Safety Rep.


Continued issues with non-compliance should be escalated via the line structure and support offered to any unit that requires it. The CWU Area IR Rep, Area Safety Rep, Royal Mail Senior Manager and SHE Business Partner will then agree a plan of action to help address any non-compliance issues. In the event issues remain the appropriate RM senior manager (SDL, etc) and Divisional Representative will meet to review what further action is required.


Health and Safety issues can also be escalated via the agreed SHE Standard escalation process. There is a shared aspiration that this joint activity will identify good practice and all parties are encouraged to share examples where identified. Where concern about indoor space or ventilation is an issue both parties commit to working together on deploying jointly developed solutions that reduce the number of people in the building at any one time.


This may include staggering start times earlier or later and the realignment / introduction of resource to enhancement night operations to reduce congestion during the IPS/prep. Both actions should prove beneficial in maximising the use single occupancy of vehicles over the day or better utilisation of red fleet and hired vehicles. Every unit is uniquely different in this regard and therefore joint local assessment along with jointly developed solutions are important.


Both parties fully support the introduction of mandatory face masks/coverings in indoor spaces as an important control measure to reduce virus transmission in the workplace.


It is important that any exemptions are validated and minimised to those colleagues that have genuine cause not to wear a face covering. Where a face covering cannot be used for medical reasons, individuals where appropriate will be provided with a face visor to minimise the risk of transmission in the workplace.


Operational Contingency - Connect and deliver for the UK


The impact of the virus varies significantly across the UK, most typically defined by absence levels in each unit and associated cluster outbreaks. Royal Mail is taking all reasonable measures in response to the operational impacts outlined above and this should continue to be the focus of joint weekly resourcing meetings at unit level.


Post peak Royal Mail has retained up to 6000 hired vehicles to help overcome the loss of the shared vehicle operation. Additionally, and in order to support the increased absence, cluster outbreaks and increased volumes along with the operational constrains experienced due to Covid-19 up to 4000 agency delivery drivers have been engaged and retained in order to provide support for the operation and the fantastic efforts of colleagues throughout the UK.


The continued numbers of agency staff along with resourcing issues and overall recruitment will be subject to regular further joint National Review and carried out in line with the commitments contained within the Pathway to Change agreement. In addition, both parties will jointly identify and agree any opportunities within their units to recruit staff where there are currently known vacancies which need to be filled, or to increase weekly contractual commitments for existing part time staff.


RM & CWU


RMG – Internal Joint weekly resourcing meetings will focus on how best to align any additional agency resource alongside the availability of Royal Mail employees working in delivery units. It is confirmed that all existing staff resourcing options will be exhausted before the option to the use of agency workers is taken.