28th September 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 227 circulated on 8th September, Branches and Representatives will be aware that national negotiations have been ongoing aimed at achieving an agreement to cover the Key Principles in respect of supernumeraries and surpluses in Mail Centres.
These negotiations were designed to complement and ensure that the MTSF agreement and processes would apply in full and without exception.
Whilst it has often appeared in these talks there has been little between us, when it comes to finalising an agreement the words proposed by RMG fail to reflect what is said in the room and in essence, in the view or the CWU, RMG are attempting to circumnavigate the MTSF agreement and as a result the specific commitments contained in Para 3.1.3 of the BRT&G Agreement.
Though these talks have remained incredibly difficult progress was made, which enabled the Postal Executive to endorse the terms of an agreed set of Key Principles of 25th September 2023.
Unfortunately, just a day later, a further amended draft was received from RMG that removed fundamental protections and materially worsened what was endorsed by the Postal Executive.
Management’s revised words effectively amended the position that had been agreed, and as such are viewed as unacceptable by the Postal Executive. We have therefore rejected RMG’s latest position.
To be clear, if accepted, the revised proposals from RMG would bind the CWU to a redeployment process that effectively replaces the terms of the MTSF Agreement and is most certainly not in the best interests of our members. Additionally, there are obviously far wider implications to all other functions where surpluses arise if this unagreed process remains unchallenged.
Royal Mail are attempting to reset the responsibility for identifying redeployment opportunities from the company to the individual. It follows that the ‘re-deployment pools’ management have established are specifically designed to place pressure on our members to “voluntarily” accept jobs that would otherwise be deemed as unreasonable due to the nature of the work and/or the attendance patterns.
This approach effectively means that without the necessary safeguards we were trying to establish, our members will be at risk of undue pressure to accept redeployment into unsuitable roles. This could equally apply to members who are deemed surplus through the closure of Customer Service Points (CSP’s) in delivery units as well as those seen as surplus following any future revision activity.
It is simply incredible that management are attempting to designate our members as surplus when there is such a heavy and regular reliance upon Agency workers. RMG’s priority should be to cease Agency workers and identify suitable jobs for any substantive employee without a role.
Further to the advice issued in LTB 227/23 and 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.
As we have broken down in negotiations, it is necessary to escalate this matter. We have therefore written to Grant McPherson, Chief Operational Officer and Zareena Brown, Chief People Officer, seeking an urgent meeting with the aim of concluding an acceptable agreement on the Key Principles for surpluses.
Our members are facing a serious situation which has to be resolved through agreement. All of the CWU efforts are concentrated on concluding a negotiated settlement but in advance of this we would ask you to engage directly with all members, both those who are surplus and those who have a role, to determine how best to put pressure on RMG to do the right thing.
In this regard, the Postal Executive will support all requests for ballots for strike action.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference: 733.02.
Andy Furey Davie Robertson A/Deputy General Secretary (Postal) Assistant Secretary