PROGRESS MADE IN ATTENDANCE PROCEDURE TALKS.
Royal Mail Group: BRT&G Agreement Section 6.4 – The Right to Representation
Branches are advised we have concluded negotiations in respect of the Migration arrangements from the former standards to the new standards as part of Section 6.4 of the BRT&G Agreement and these have been endorsed by the Postal Executive. We have also finalised the Terms of Reference to establish the Joint Working Group which provides for a structured approach with positive timeframes for engagement on a range of aspects associated with Section 6.4.
Migration Arrangements to the New Standards
Attendance Review (AR)1
• Members who have had an AR1 issued between 31st January and 30th April 2023 who have not had an absence will come off the procedure.
• Members who have had 1 absence will continue with the original 6-month review period although the new standards of 3 absences or 12 days (compared to 2 absences and 10 days) will apply. If the absence is covered by the Equality Act, this will be discounted and the member will come off the procedure.
• Members who have received an AR1 since 1st May 2023, will stay on the process and the new standards and extended timescales will apply.
Attendance Review (AR)2
• Members who have had an AR 2 issued between 31st January and 30th April 2023, will revert back to an AR1, from the date of the original issue, with the new standards and extended timescales applying.
• Members who have received an AR2 since 1st May 2023, will stay on the process and the new standards and extended timescales will apply.
We have secured improved migration arrangements for members who have been issued with either an AR1 or an AR2 prior to 1st May. The rationale for this approach is down to the fact the BRT&G Agreement was published on 21st April and therefore our members wouldn’t have been aware of the new standards in regards to AR1s or AR2s issued prior to this date. Following this logic, from 1st May AR1s or AR2s issued would have happened against the backdrop of the new standards being communicated.
The benefit of the Migration arrangements for those members who fall into the 31st January – 30th April timeframe is substantial in respect of numbers. Indeed, thousands of members who received letters to their home addresses will be positively impacted by the Migration arrangements.
The Right of Appeal and Union Representation for Members Receiving AR1s and AR2s
Branches and Representatives will be acutely aware Royal Mail published a revised Absence Policy which effectively removed the right of representation. This position was apparent from their wider communications, including training materials. We strongly objected to this development which amounted to Executive Action. The removal of the Union being able to support our members was obviously a blatant attempt to stop our influence in defending our members.
This fundamental issue has taken time to resolve, along with the various other aspects in Section 6.4. We are now able to report the following, which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive:
Formal Appeals Against the Issuing of AR1s and AR2s
There will now be formal appeals against the issuing of either an AR1 or an AR2. This approach will enable full Union representation whereby our members can, in a formal hearing, object to the issuing of the AR notifications. This is a “right” for the member and the grounds for appeal are as follows:
1. An error has been made
2. New information has come to light concerning an absence which ‘counted’
3. An important factor leading to an absence that was not given due consideration
4. Another point of mitigation
We are convinced the introduction of formal Appeals provides a much stronger platform for members and Reps to air their concerns and objections to the AR1s and AR2s. Indeed, the extension of the Welcome Back Meetings in the BRT&G Agreement in respect of counting absences, made the previously agreed arrangements whereby our Reps supported members prior to the issuing of the AR1s and AR2s exceptionally difficult to maintain. As a consequence, we have adopted a different approach and in doing so have delivered on the conference policy of securing appeals against the issuing of AR1s and AR2s.
Revising the Collective Agreement for Attendance
As a consequence of the above, it is recognised by both parties the Collective Agreement on Attendance has been fundamentally changed following the BRT&G Agreement and subsequent Joint Statements. We have therefore committed to negotiate a revised Attendance Agreement, hopefully by the end of September to reflect these changes.
Royal Mail Group: BRT&G Agreement Section 6.4 – Sick Pay Arrangements
Branches will be aware that the BRT&G Agreement included from 1st August 2023 the equivalent of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for the second absence (2 days), third absence (4 days) and for the fourth and any subsequent absence (3 days).
Royal Mail have informed us, due to complexities surrounding the updating of the payroll system, they are unable to implement the sick pay arrangements in respect of deductions of pay until November 2023. As a consequence of this situation we have agreed to revise the arrangements as follows.
Any loss of pay will now apply from 1st October rather than 1st August coupled with the associated approach:
• If a member has a second or subsequent absence from 1st October and before the payroll system is updated, their pay will be retrospectively adjusted from January 2024 to reflect the new sick pay arrangements as follows:
• A maximum of £50 per week (£200 per month), pro-rata for part-timers will be stopped from pay from 1st January 2024 for the second absence and any subsequent that occurs from 1st October until the new pay system is in place (expected to be November 2023).
• With a ceiling of £50 per week, for most members this will be spread over 3 to 4 weeks for the second absence.
A Joint Working Group (JWG) has been established and a crucial aspect of its remit is to monitor absence rates in line with our shared commitment to reduce the cost of absence. Due to Royal Mail’s delay in implementing the new sick pay arrangements, we have agreed the 6-month reference period for monitoring absence rates as per Paragraph 6.4.1, and in particular the target of 5.5%, will commence from 1st October 2023. This is in keeping with the revised sick pay arrangements also applying from 1st October rather than 1st August.
Any enquiries should be send to the PTCS Department via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal)