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New Royal Mail shared van plan is “reckless” and will see coronavirus spread, say CWU

The CWU have criticised a “reckless” Royal Mail decision to bring back shared delivery vans, saying that their first priority is to “protect postal workers’ lives”.

Speaking to around 20,000 CWU members on a Facebook session, Deputy General Secretary (Postal) Terry Pullinger spoke with CWU head of communications Chris Webb over Royal Mail’s latest move to reintroduce shared vans on Monday on a voluntary basis.

Terry accused Royal Mail management of basing workplace health and safety on economic worries in the build-up to Christmas, saying that the decision had “operational overtones”.

He clarified that the union’s executive opposes the plans, and said he found out about the plans earlier this afternoon.

Terry also added that the company is “going against everything they supported at the start of this pandemic”, and criticised the “timing” of the decision, saying: “In the last couple of weeks, the landscape has drastically changed.

It’s getting worse, with areas of this country getting shut down. To now make the move to put two people back in the van is reckless.”

Terry also claimed that while another meeting between Royal Mail management and the union was scheduled this week, management are already briefing the press that shared vans are starting on Monday.

“They’re asking us to put their name on it. We will not do that. Our priority is to protect postal workers’ lives.

“We want to keep you safe, your workplace safe and your family safe. Every single person should be at high alert to make sure this virus does not spread to postal workers.

“If we drop our guard, and it spreads through our membership, people would soon have something to say about their trade union, wouldn’t they?”

Terry urged all members to watch out for letters to branches going out, asked all reps to engage and deliver the union’s message to members, and said that people should stick with their union throughout this.

Meanwhile, thousands of members were commenting: “no to shared vans”.

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