Royal Mail Dispute – Report on National Briefing 17/12/19


Liverpool, 17th December 2019

The Branch were represented by: Dave Taylor – Area Delivery Rep (WA), Chris MacIndeor – Area Delivery Rep (SK), Bobby Ravenall – Area Distribution Rep, Tony Salt – Area Safety Rep (SK), Paul Dugdale – Sub Divisional Officer, Dave Kennedy – Branch Secretary

General Secretary

Dave Ward offered his thoughts on Labour’s disastrous General Election result and the opportunities missed for CWU Members, i.e. Royal Mail Nationalisation and Post Banks. The initial reasons are clear – they got Brexit wrong and the Leadership was a problem with the electorate. We paid a heavy price. We will continue to connect everything in the workplace with the Political and there will be a meeting with the TUC General Secretary later today. We will take our decision on the new Leader in the new year but important that we take our time

In terms of the dispute, the two separate Court rulings were clearly a setback. But the way we dealt with it was what sets us apart from other Unions. The best line of defence will always be standing with the Trade Union. We mustn’t walk away from the levels of engagement we had with membership and learn lessons as we move on. It’s time for reflection and now is the right time to enter talks. But whatever we end up with, we won’t be able to sustain the industry on Parcels alone. So we need to reach a solution that invests in the core business and to reach an extended role for Postal Workers. We also need to ensure that the use of technology isn’t used as a weapon against the membership. Rico Back has the Shareholders – we have the membership. This leaves us in a strong position.

Senior Deputy General Secretary

Tony Kearns explained the recent High Court Rulings. Essentially, the law says ‘must be allowed to Vote without interference’. The judgement was peculiar and could only have applied to the CWU. Royal Mail told lies – pretended the fact that our members took their own mail from frames came as a complete shock to them. The Judge said that instruction versus encouragement was minimal but ruled against us anyway. How do we campaign in the future? Encouragement to reach the TU Act thresholds will still need to happen and we’ll now have to consult lawyers in every single case. Thanks to Branches and members etc.

Deputy General Secretary (Postal)

The Union has survived Tory Governments before – we’ll do it again. We’re still in a strong position. Penny has dropped with the Royal Mail board and the half yearly results have demonstrated that the Company has been mismanaged for 18 months. Within 12 months the company could be trading at a loss. Received a phone call last Friday and they now want to talk. Been in some initial talks and the signals are that they recognise that they need to reach an agreement. Hopefully now a period of calm. To be clear – Peace has not broken out and we cannot move away from our position. If talks break down we will consider a re-ballot. Likely to be difficult – things have been said and we’ll now come face to face. We think we can handle that. Doubtless, April Pay will also now be on the table and Royal Mail will have their own shopping list that we’ll have to deal with. Important that we don’t talk the position down – we are still in a strong place. The terms of the negotiations? All our 21 points of dispute remain on the table and they will need to significantly back off on Parcelforce TUPE. Our position hasn’t changed and we’ll still need to resolve the Shorter Working Week. There will be no more dispute resolution processes – these will need to be proper negotiations. Don’t really know how the talks will go. The current board are inexperienced and represent an unknown quantity. Hopeful that the new Pension Scheme will be in the Queens Speech this week and will return for a first reading.


Branch Secretary

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