RMG’S EXECUTIVE ACTION ON REVISION/CHANGE PROGRAMME IN DELIVERY OFFICES & MAIL CENTRES
During the recent two-week period of national talks to resolve the issues in dispute, it became clear that RMG intended to renege on Simon Thompson CEO’s letter of 6th January 2023, which stated:
“Revisions will be undertaken in line with the Pathway to Change Agreement and will be specifically based on workload and productivity targets, the IR Framework Agreement will apply in full.”
Against what are serious misgivings on the direct planning parameters, saving targets / productivity uplifts, our negotiators made a genuine attempt to agree functional guidelines and secure an agreement to support local level revision/change planning in all functions.
RMG rejected all attempts by the union to reach an agreed approach and continues to introduce revisions and change at local level by Executive Action.
RMG is now seeking to advance revision plans ahead of the timescales outlined to the union during the talks. In Delivery Units, management are disguising them as so-called lapsing plans. In some local units managers are seeking to impose local level change far beyond what RMG planned and communicated in the talks. Controversially and provocatively this includes plans to remove innovative duty patterns and bring in later starts and finishing times.
Attached is a RMG document relating to Delivery Office Revision Activity entitled Table Top Revision – Can and Cannot Guide file, which RMG has advised is a high-level guide for local managers on key changes in terms of what the business say they ’can do/cannot do’ under their local revision/change plans, covering a number of areas including ‘Sunday Working’, ‘Start and Finishing Times’ and ‘Working Patterns’.
In Mail Centres there are plans for full structural revisions removing agreed innovative duty patterns, earning packages and imposing significant and far reaching changes to attendance patterns. Deployment activity including 1-2-1’s and forced re-sign activity has resumed in Mails Centres.
Advice for Branches, Representatives and Members
We recognise the very difficult position our Branches, Representatives and members now find themselves in. Therefore, the following advice should be taken in terms of dealing with Executive Action and un-agreed revisions / change plans at local level. From a CWU perspective, the IR Framework remains in place and should be used to address the collective impact of un-agreed revisions and change. As such, consideration should be given to the actions below to challenge any revision or operational change planned at local level.
In all the circumstances described below, where local managers refuse to enter into the IR Framework, disagreement should be processed unilaterally
Movement of Individuals/Short Term Redeployment
Any short term redeployment or movement of members from selected and aligned duties should be addressed via WRMs (Weekly Resourcing Meetings). In all cases, the aim should be to limit any impact and the need for the movement of individuals. Furthermore, any required movement should reflect the individual attendance patterns and day off arrangements (unless otherwise agreed by the individual concerned). There should also be a minimum notice period (reasonable) for these changes. This was defined by RMG in the ‘Best and Final’ offer off 22nd November 2022, under its plans on Flexible Hours:
‘Individuals would get between four to ten weeks’ notice of your shifts to allow you to plan.’
In the case of individuals with adjusted duty needs and arrangements covered under the Equality Act (e.g disability, family-friendly etc.) there is a direct requirement for the local manager or Person in Charge (PIC) to undertake a robust review of the reasonable adjustments and workplace adjustment to ensure the individual’s protective measures and workplace adjustment are maintained or improved. This should in all cases happen in advance of any changes being made.
Where there is no agreement or there is wider concern in terms of short term and continuous and unnecessary movement/redeployment of individuals, the IR Framework should be used. It is vital to highlight all disagreements logged where local managers are seeking or have imposed change outside of RMG’s own guide or wider commitments issued to employees (e.g family-friendly duties).
MTSF: Redeployment of Individuals from their Selected Duties / Displaced / Surplus Staffing
MTSF should be applied in all cases of long term redeployment or individuals being displaced as a result of a surplus staffing situation or business-driven change.
As such, managers should advise in writing to the relevant Representative and individuals of the reasons and grounds for the decision. Thereafter, the manager would need to apply the terms of the MTSF agreement, including the consultation timeline for such change, the application of Pay Protection (as applicable), and the actual Redeployment Process. This should be in addition to the manager or PIC needing to review the redeployment against any required individual adjusted duty arrangements, family-friendly or Equality Act needs.
The IR Framework should be used in the case of local managers not adhering to or engaging with local Representatives in line MTSF in respect of long term redeployment resulting from a surplus staffing situation or business-driven change.
Enforced Re-Picks/Filling of Vacancies
The IR Framework should be used in the case of any un-agreed or enforced pick of duties, or the filling of vacancies which are not in line with Section 6 of the National Way Forward Agreement.
Industrial Relations/Employee Relations Review (Independent Mediation)
Where there are serious concerns in terms of local level relations and employee relations and standards of treatment and behaviours, applications should be made for a formal IR/ER review (supported by independent mediation) at the unit. Such requests should formally outline all areas of concern and preferably be jointly submitted.
Lapsing Plans/Weekly Resourcing Meetings and General IR Matters
The IR Framework is still applicable in all regards, including imposed and un-agreed lapsing plans, Weekly Resourcing Meetings not taking place and general IR matters. Where local managers refuse to engage in line with our collective agreements, the IR Framework should be used and disagreements should be processed unilaterally in the absence of meaningful engagement.
Individual Grievances Applications
LTB 039/18, dated 24th January 2018, Improved Grievance Procedure, set out the process for individual members to raise complaints or concerns either directly with their line manager or above. Where there is and remains failure on the part of managers to ensure that grievances are dealt with in a supportive and timely manner and in line with the commitments set out in the Grievance Procedure, Branches and Representatives should use the IR Framework to raise and challenge this.
The advice above is designed to assist Branches and Representatives in dealing with management seeking to ignore all agreements and protocols in respect of revisions, attendance patterns and resultant people issues.
In all cases where management are acting outside of their own guidelines and our agreements, this must be challenged via the IR Framework and if disagreements are rejected, these should be registered unilaterally.
Finally, we fully recognise that given the scale of RMG’s unacceptable actions, the advice herein is not in itself going to resolve the principle of Royal Mail refusing to negotiate at local level. Therefore, we can advise Branches that we intend to communicate further developments in the coming days in respect of how best to oppose management’s unacceptable Executive Action, alongside our wider communications to deliver another massive YES vote in the Re-Ballot.
Any enquiries on Managerial Executive Action/Revision Activity should be sent to the respective Assistant Secretaries responsible for the function where Executive Action is taking place.
Dave Ward General Secretary
Andy Furey Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal)
Davie Robertson Assistant Secretary
Mark Baulch Assistant Secretary
Carl Maden Assistant Secretary