Royal Mail and CWU reach accord

Jo Francis
Friday, February 5, 2021

Union members at Royal Mail have given a resounding vote of confidence in the new framework agreement about future working practices, job security and pay at the group.

Royal Mail: new services include parcel collection
Royal Mail: new services include parcel collection

Eligible members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted 91.5% in favour of the agreement.

Royal Mail said it welcomed the ballot result, which will allow it to implement technology changes to boost efficiency – such as doing away with manual sign in and sign out processes – and give the business greater flexibility.

“There will also be a revised and quicker dispute resolution process to enable agreement on change to happen more quickly, and a process to trial and deploy new ways of working and technology more swiftly,” Royal Mail stated.

A two-year pay deal is part of the agreement, including a 2.7% pay increase backdated to April 2020, and a further 1% increase from April 2021.

The second hour of the shorter working week will be brought in no later than the end of October this year.

Royal Mail said it was now working with the CWU to implement the changes needed, “in order to capitalise on the significant growth we have seen in parcels so far this year”.

Prior to Christmas Royal Mail faced a massive backlog in deliveries, due to a huge increase in parcels as online shopping sales boomed.

Royal Mail said the operational review would “support and build on proposals for the parcel network, maintain an efficient letters operation and prioritise investment for further expansion”.

“This will include how we operate our new parcel hubs and introduce dedicated van delivery duties for parcels, as well as exploring the opportunity for more frequent deliveries throughout the week.”

Reacting to the result, Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary (postal) at the CWU, said he wanted to thank Royal Mail workers for everything they had done in the last year, “delivering for the people of the UK as key workers, and for their solidarity to each other and to this union”.

The union had had a toxic relationship with controversial former CEO Rico Back, and Pullinger said the CWU members had defeated a prior ideology that was “all about decline, about profit and mass job losses”.

“Now that’s been replaced with an agreement that is all about hope, about growth, it’s about building jobs and building upon this great public service that we’ve absolutely proven is an essential service in this last year,” Pullinger stated.

“The new Royal Mail management, the new CEO, are absolutely dedicated to that agreement. This isn’t like last time when a CEO came in after a negotiated agreement had been made and wanted to ditch it all.”

Pullinger said that under fresh Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson, who took over in January, Royal Mail’s leadership was “totally committed to this agreement, to changing the culture, making it the positive place that we all wanted… now’s the time for us to embrace it and move it forward”.

“We fought for this vision and a future and the opportunity to shape it, this agreement give us that as a union and we intend to grasp that with everything we’ve got and try and ensure that the next few years are nothing like the last few years,” Pullinger stated.

Royal Mail’s share price has been on the rise this week, it was at 405.30p on Monday, and was at 424.10p earlier today (5 February).  The 52-week high is 427.70p, low: 118.86p.

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