CWU suspends Royal Mail ballot

Jo Francis
Thursday, May 25, 2023

The future stability of Royal Mail has been thrown into question again, after the CWU suspended the ballot over its proposed pay and conditions agreement due to the “command and control” workplace environment it described as “toxic”.

Ward: facing a backlash over proposed deal from some members
Ward: facing a backlash over proposed deal from some members

Yesterday afternoon (24 May) the CWU issued a statement explaining the latest turn of events in the long-running and bitter dispute.

General secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary (postal) Andy Furey issued a joint statement that said:

“Royal Mail Group has not stepped back from their attacks in the workplace. This became more evident when they announced their Quality of Service results and failed to take any responsibility whatsoever for the disastrous position the company finds itself in.

“Unless Royal Mail Group openly accept that their culture of imposition and the ‘our business to run’ mantra must go, then the integrity of the negotiators' agreement will be irreparably damaged.”

On that basis, the CWU’s Postal Executive has agreed to suspend the vote on the national agreement until the following actions are completed:

1. In line with section 2.5 of the agreement (Improving Quality of Service and USO Compliance), immediate measures must be agreed to restore quality of service and genuinely review all failed revisions.

2. A mass Zoom meeting for every CWU representative and manager in the UK to confirm the measures we agree with the company will be implemented.
The CWU said the Zoom meeting must also cover the following: A pause on year-three revisions until quality of service is restored and productivity measures are realistic and achievable; the full restoration of the IR Framework agreement – including acceptance that savings targets are negotiable, the right for part-time members to move to full-time/increase their contractual hours (on current terms and conditions) ahead of bringing in new entrants.

3. All offices are in receipt of their proposed finish times.

“This must be the wake-up call that senior management need to change the culture of imposition, command and control and finally show the humility required to deliver the agreement and change in a way that takes the workforce with them,” Ward and Furey stated.

After the CWU announced its decision to suspend the ballot via Twitter, its post was met with a barrage of responses, apparently from postal workers and members, saying the reason for the hiatus was because members were likely to reject the deal.

The CWU refuted this in its responses to the negative posts.

Ballot papers were sent to members on 17 May, the original timeline involved the ballot closing and the announcement of the result on 7 June. 

The CWU has written to Royal Mail management about the latest state of play.

Royal Mail did not specifically reference the suspension or the CWU’s concerns in its latest statement.

A spokesperson said: “We fully support this deal and hope that CWU members accept it in the forthcoming ballot. The need to change is critical so that we can improve our quality of service, deliver for our customers and get back to profitability. The sooner we can get a positive ballot result the sooner we can give our people the pay rise that we have agreed with the CWU and provide greater job security.”

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