22nd November 2023
For the Immediate Attention of All:
Parcelforce Regional Organisers
Parcelforce Peak Incentive Scheme (Unagreed)
Further to LTBs 260 and 272/23 on the unagreed Royal Mail Peak Incentive Scheme, given that Parcelforce employees were excluded from that scheme, Senior Parcelforce management had informed the department they were seeking authority to launch a bespoke Parcelforce Peak Incentive Scheme. While we continue to have grave reservations around the concept and design of the Royal Mail Scheme, we had sought an update on progress of discussions on a bespoke arrangement for Parcelforce.
An update was provided on 14th November where the business indicated they now have board clearance to proceed and presented a scheme design to the department. That design immediately raised serious concerns and the department wrote to Parcelforce to seek clarity on a range of issues and challenge design elements which appear to be both divisive and illogical.
Further discussions took place on 15th November 2023 following which the department informed Parcelforce we could not support a scheme which is even more so than in Royal Mail significantly flawed in design and concept, but also potentially detrimental to morale and performance.
The scheme design presented retains some of the problematic elements of the Royal Mail scheme, but unlike in Royal Mail, employees in the Hubs and Processing Centres are not considered to be in scope and are excluded from the scheme, even though upstream performance is key to quality.
In Depots, Parcelforce have today announced an additional peak incentive for non-driver roles. Indoor workers (Night sort and Backshift) and Admin Teams are offered a stretch bonus for performance against two targets over five weeks commencing 20th November 2023 through till week commencing 18th December 2023.
The targets are:
End to End (E2E) of Express 24 products of 97.00% (Reduced to 95.5% in cyber week);
Local Depot Clearance of 98.5%.
The department believe that in both cases the targets are extremely challenging and it is unclear how success would be measured. However, in this case there is an overriding issue.
As in Royal Mail, achievement against both targets is wholly dependent on the successful delivery of parcels yet, unlike in Royal Mail, the workforce responsible for the delivery of items is not considered to be in scope.
In the view of the CWU, the Indoor and Admin employees considered to be included in the scheme cannot deliver the targets through their own performance and those who can are excluded from the scheme on the basis that we have agreed, as a key commitment of the BRT&G agreement, to expand the Alternative Reward Mechanism trial during peak. The extension of the Reward Mechanism trial was the logical development of the BRT&G commitment and was not agreed as a Peak Incentive measure.
The approach taken by the business has no logical basis and effectively makes the scheme design defective in the extreme.
On the level of reward, the headline is the ability to earn up to £500 through the scheme. However, that £500 includes the regular negotiated bonus payments that our indoor and admin members currently receive. Effectively, the headline £500 includes £80 (£16 per week) that our members would earn anyway. Notwithstanding the design issues, the scheme offers less reward to less people than the Royal Mail Incentive.
Of course the Union supports meaningful opportunities for our members to earn additional money and in Parcelforce we have for many years agreed Christmas arrangements that have provided that opportunity. However, while the decision to extend Peak incentive opportunities into Parcelforce may have been well intentioned, this scheme is clearly not fit for purpose and does not deliver uniform, achievable benefits for our members across the operational pipeline in Parcelforce.
Of equal concern is the fact that Parcelforce have informed the Union that it does not intend to conclude the traditional Christmas Arrangements agreement that has delivered additional earnings for our members and provided the business with assurance on weekend coverage over the Peak period for many years. Instead, they intend to offer local incentives on an “as required” basis. We believe this is an extremely short sighted approach, which has the potential to create resourcing issues and lead to a reliance on Agency resource.
In both cases we have attempted to persuade the business to change position and negotiate an alternative approach, which properly recognises and rewards performance at a key time for the business. Unfortunately, as Royal Mail did with their Peak Incentive scheme, Parcelforce have decided to deploy regardless.
As such, for the avoidance of doubt, the CWU has not agreed the content of the Parcelforce Peak Incentive Scheme or the approach to local incentives for Weekend Coverage.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference: 054.06.