13th October 2023 Dear Colleagues
UNAGREED EXTENSION OF MY PERFORMANCE APP
Branches and Representatives will be aware Royal Mail has communicated the extension of “My Performance”. The Business Recovery, Transformation & Growth (BRT&G) Agreement, Appendix 5, section 3, recognised that Royal Mail intended to develop a My Performance app/tile and committed the CWU to discussions in line with the commitments in Appendix 5 of the BRT&G agreement. In particular, the introduction includes the following safeguards for our members:
“Technology and data will be used to understand workplace and individual performance in a fair, and consistent way. It will also help support the identification of potential operational improvements…..to focus support where it is needed with an emphasis on solving the vast majority of performance concerns informally via peer-on-peer support and coaching”
The CWU’s concerns regarding Royal Mail’s approach has been made clear in meetings and formally in a letter sent by the Officers on Wednesday 4th October 2023. It should be noted that the extension, which is due to commence next week, will involve c.25,600 delivery members across 332 Units as follows:
Scotland (excluding the highlands) 62
North East 95
Whilst My Performance is currently aimed at Delivery Members, the intention is to roll this out to all grades / functions.
We believe in the current environment, whereby achieving Quality of Service should be the absolute priority, especially as we are approaching peak, that the scale and timing for a successful extension to the My Performance Pilot is ill-conceived and is an unnecessary distraction for all.
Given the pressures to deliver the USO and to improve QofS as we approach the peak period, we have genuine concerns that managers’ focus won’t be on having positive conversations when their attention will undoubtedly be on the operation.
Our strong view is that an agreed extension to the Pilot should be activated in the New Year and this will provide all parties with the necessary time to ensure the coaching and training around the App is both appropriate and balanced.
The extended programme Royal Mail intend to deploy is not consistent with the BRT&G safeguards. Instead, the My Performance approach and design has clearly been developed with the focus on pressurising our members in respect of individual performance.
This is without any context or reference to individual circumstances and is the first step in a migration to a more aggressive approach to performance management.
Whilst we have received a response from Royal Mail that attempts to reassure us of our involvement, it does not respond to our very real concerns. Therefore, Branches, Representatives and Members are advised that such a large scale extension of My Performance is not agreed by the CWU.
We are particularly perturbed by the Royal Mail categorisation of each member being placed into a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Purple designation. Alongside this, a further determination that every member needs to improve to achieve the Gold standard.
We have had no real input into these categorisations or designations or how the initiative will actually work in practice. Essentially, Royal Mail’s whole premise is not based on how you perform your role but on what Royal Mail are calling their “values”. The CWU have not agreed these “values” and we believe this is a sinister attempt to put undue pressure on our members at a time when everyone will be focused on delivering a successful peak.
Furthermore, to put this matter into perspective, and to provide a context as to how management are viewing performance in general, below are deeply concerning comments by management attributable to the purple category:-
Regularly displays a negative or defeatist attitude at work which affects others
Resistant to feedback, often arguing or disengaging from conversations.
Not approachable to team mates when they need it and may share information about others without their consent
Avoids collaboration and works in isolation, even when teamwork is needed
Downplays colleagues’ achievements and shows minimal interest or recognition for their accomplishments
Requires multiple prompts or reminders before taking action on wellbeing and the impact on others.
The above comments are disgraceful and none of our members should have these unfounded assertions made against them. The fact is, these types of accusations against our members are subjective, cannot be verified via any App, and fundamentally illustrate how management view some of our members. It is utterly wrong that line managers will be encouraged and empowered to attribute such allegations towards members who simply want to do a good job.
The Postal Executive want to reach an acceptable agreement with Royal Mail for an extension to My Performance; however, whilst the initiative remains in its current format we are unable to conclude an agreement.
Branches, Representatives and Members do not have to co-operate with any conversations managers may wish to have arising from Purple, Bronze, Silver and Gold designations without their Representative being present. Indeed, it is imperative that all members receive full support in this regard.
This is necessary as the BRT&G Agreement states:
“Both parties recognise care needs to be taken to ensure we build a positive and supportive workplace culture”.
The CWU are committed to the BRT&G Agreement; however, Royal Mail are taking this initiative and extension beyond the spirit and intent of the agreement, with no meaningful engagement. Whilst meetings have been held, management have not changed or modified their proposals despite the significant concerns raised by the Union.
The guiding principle surrounding this matter is that “Individual data will be used for coaching purposes in a supportive manner” and all managers should be adopting this position. Accordingly, if Representatives and Members feel undue pressure is being placed upon them by their manager, they should use the grievance procedure and if this does not resolve the issue and becomes a wider Industrial Relations problem, the flashpoint procedure should be used.
If Royal Mail continue to refuse to modify their unreasonable and unfair stance to this extension, the Postal Executive will support all local requests for Industrial Action ballots to defend our members against these unjust measures.
Any enquiries to this LTB please contact: The Outdoor Department reference 580, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours sincerely Mark Baulch – Assistant Secretary Carl Maden – Assistant Secretary Davie Robertson – Assistant Secretary