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Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

No. 033/23

8th February 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail’s Customer Service Points (CSPs) Rationalisation Plan & Automatic Redelivery

Branches, Representatives, and members alike will recall that the Outdoor Department has issued a number of LTBs covering Royal Mail’s ongoing review of Customer Service Points (CSP) estate and opening times. These have been supplemented via two ODMs (Outdoor Department Memos), 039/22 and 042/22, issued on the 12th and 21st December respectively, in order to update Branches and Representatives concerning ongoing developments on Royal Mail’s CSP plans and the further activity to introduce Automatic Redelivery, which is a separate initiative, but clearly linked to Royal Mail wider CSP rationalisation plans.

We have set out the union’s growing concerns around Royal Mail’s future plans for CSPs, and it was therefore not a surprise that this matter surfaced during our dispute and was included in Royal Mail’s ‘best and final offer’ presented to the union on 22nd November as part the recent ACAS talks. To recap, Royal Mail set out the following wording for the CWU to sign up to on future of CSPs in their ‘best and final offer’:

3.3 – Customer Service Point Rationalisation

Due to a significant increase in first time delivery rates, the purpose and scale of Customer Service Point operation requires urgent review. The CWU commits to work with Royal Mail on this review consultation concluding end of December 2022 with implementation commencing Feb 2023.

Since then we have engaged in numerous correspondence with Royal Mail on its CSPs plan which also include the national rollout and launch of Automatic Redelivery. Most recently, we have sought to use the last few weeks of refreshed negotiations and correspondence to push Royal Mail to rethink and halt these plans. Sadly, Royal Mail has seemingly rejected the union’s call and in the most recent set of discussions, it set out revised plans to increase the number of CSPs to close and further limited the scope of services offered in those which will continue to remain open, but also added that it was still reviewing and considering its overall position:

The summary of what we believe Royal Mail’s current plans is: –

  • To cut the number of CSPs significantly, thereby only leaving a minority of units overall open, which although unconfirmed, we believe is an increase from the original number of closures outlined to us in November of last year.

  • Those that remain open will be “repurposed” and will only be open for specific workload activity and customer services.

  • National rollout of Automatic Redelivery will take place during February.

Following our most recent meeting, we received a further letter from Royal Mail which highlighted what can only be described as a complete disregard for the real impact these plans will have on all CWU members that work in CSPs.

Subsequently, the union has written to Royal Mail further on the 3rd February to challenge these plans for CSPs, but also more importantly, to directly contest these, and their direct impact on members who perform CSP work and roles. We have also requested that specific information is received detailing those units which are planned to close, along with clear details on what this will mean in terms of those individuals which undertake this work, and the possible number of headcount reductions associated with their plans.

As outlined above it would now appear that Royal Mail is seeking to push through with its CSP closure plans which could impact up to some 2,400 of its employees, a number of which perform these roles as a result of ‘adjusted duty needs’ due to a disability via the Equality Act or family-friendly needs. Where there is any suggestion by Royal Mail of options for redeployment to other roles or work, our view is it is simply not realistic given the overall numbers involved with Royal Mail’s overall “rightsizing” programme.

We are further aware that individual members who perform CSP roles are now being directly approached as part of Royal Mail’s closure plans at a local level, therefore, we are issuing the following initial advice to members:

In response to any request to meet and engage with your line manager/COM on the local changes to CSPs arrangements and your current duty patterns (and any individual protected characteristics), members should first request ‘written and advance’ confirmation from their manager on the specific nature of such a meeting and the relevant Royal Mail procedure and process under which the meeting is being held; and whether attendance is purely voluntary or otherwise.

Secondly and once a reply is received from the relevant manager, the member should then advise that they are now seeking further CWU clarification and advice on this matter, and before they are able to attend. The advice is needed as Royal Mail has not confirmed directly with the CWU at a national level the relevant Royal Mail procedure and process it is applying in terms of what could amount to a redundancy situation or an enforced individual severance package.

If members choose to attend, or feel compelled to attend, and request CWU representation accordingly, our Reps should as per normal, accompany and support members as necessary, but on a ‘without prejudice’ basis due to the union’s wider position and in absence of the manager concerned formally confirming the nature of the meeting and under which Royal Mail procedure and process the meeting is taking place.

Members should not feel pressurised or compelled to make knee-jerk reactions or decisions in terms of these Royal Mail plans. However, and as outlined in LTB 454/22 ERRATA, issued on the 17th of November entitled: Royal Mail Group: Unagreed Preference Exercise, we do need to confirm that:

It will always be the case that individual members are entitled to make their choice based on their own personal circumstances as to whether or not they are prepared to accept RMG’s redundancy terms.

The union fully understands the real anxiety and stress many members that work in CSP’s are now feeling in the face of what are unnecessary and belligerent actions by Royal Mail. History has shown that the union has always been able via joint agreement and mitigation towards individual circumstances to deal with whole scale and difficult change.

However, the current approach of Royal Mail on its CSP plans has been rarely seen and is based on what can only be described as an openly aggressive and inexcusable attitude towards its employees, again noting that many of our members who work in CSP’s have family-friendly needs, or are covered under the Equality Act.

The union’s focus has centred around what these plans will mean to members that perform CSP work. However, the union has also written direct to Ofcom, the Postal Regulator, via the General Secretary and Acting Deputy General Secretary (Postal), to question these plans under the Royal Mail Group Licence conditions as well as a potential contravention of the DUSP (Designated Universal Service Provider) Condition 1 and the Communication Act, as it will remove the option for many customers to collect mail and access other postal services via CSPs. The initial reply from Ofcom to our initial representation on this matter was somewhat disappointing, but they did, however, extend an invitation to meet which the union is looking to pick up shortly.

We will issue further updates in due course and members should equally keep in direct touch with their relevant Representatives and Branches accordingly.

Any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 532, email address:

Yours sincerely,

Mark Baulch CWU Assistant Secretary

Andy Furey A / Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

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