24,000 REDUNDANCIES. REJECT THE ROTTEN DEAL.
It means worse pay and conditions, and job cuts.
THE STRIKES last year forced Royal Mail to offer negotiations and now a new deal. But the deal has to be rejected. Here’s why:
●It prepares the way for mass job losses.
It’s not spelt out in clear terms, but the union has accepted that “modernisation” and the introduction of new technology will inevitably mean thousands of redundancies. Estimates are that this will mean 24,000 job cuts and wholesale mail centre closures. That’s disastrous at a time of high unemployment, but it will also mean even more work for those who remain.
●It’s a direct pay cut for many in deliveries. The new agreement will incorporate door-to-door into normal workload, so workers will no longer be paid per item. Instead, they are to get a weekly supplement of £20.60. They will also lose the early shift allowance. Overall that’s a pay cut. It’s even worse for part-timers. The figure is pro-rata. So a part-timer doing a four-hour duty will be getting £10.30, instead of the £30 he currently gets for taking out twice as much stuff, while at the same time receiving half the money of a full-timer doing exactly thesame amount of work.
●Longer Saturdays. This is traditionally a light day for Royal Mail employees so they can go home early and enjoy a bit of the weekend with their families. The new system introduces later start times will be rolled out over the entire week. This will mean that some postal workers will still be out on the streets on a Saturday as late as 4pm. So much for the “family-friendly” policies the agreement also trumpets, or its commitment to reduction in stress and fatigue.
●Longer delivery spans: Again, the agreement doesn’t specify how long. Current delivery spans are meant to be 3.5 hours—which usually mean between four and 4.5 hours—a period of time of intense physical activity that the former Royal Marine and British military fitness expert Tony Goddard described as “unreasonable” on a Panorama programme last year. More time on duty and more weight to carry are just two of the results of this deal, and all for less pay. Also hidden away is a massive real-estate bonanza for the private sector, as delivery offices in prime city-centre locations become “rationalised”. It’s no wonder the negotiations have been kept strictly confidential. The “sweetener” for this will be a lump sum of up to £1,400 – actually, just the yearly “colleague-share” bonus moved forward a month or two; again, pro-rata for part-timers. So a full-timer can vote away his part-time colleague’s wages for what amounts to a lump sum he was already due to receive anyway.
●The service will get worse with deliveries as late as 4pm. The current deadline of 2pm in towns and cities and 3pm in rural areas has been pushed back an hour.
●The “pay rise” is at best a standstill and will probably be a pay cut.
The newspapers talk about a 7 percent pay increase over three years. But there was no pay increase last year, so it is actually 7 percent over four years. As inflation is on the rise again, a deal that locks the union into three years of small pay rises means pay cuts in real terms.
Three members of the union’s postal executive voted against the deal. Now we need a big campaign to get the entire membership to vote no.
The CWU should then work with other unions that are in dispute (civil service
workers, Network Rail, several colleges, British Gas etc). Let’s use the pre-election period to build up the fightback.