This week, Royal Mail has put forward a proposal to Communication Workers Union (CWU). It includes a six per cent three-year pay deal for its CWU-grade people.
This means an increase, including the first hour of the shorter working week, of more than 16 per cent between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2023.
Royal Mail restated that they can only afford to do this if they deliver on the Plan they announced to its stakeholders in May 2019 and that an agreement must be reached quickly.
According to Royal Mail, this proposal underlines their commitment to being the best employer in the industry. It maintains the policy of no compulsory redundancies for frontline operational colleagues, and the postal service will not become a gig economy employer.
Further, Royal Mail says it will not introduce zero-hours contracts for permanent employees or look to outsource Royal Mail’s core operations.
Royal Mail Plans to Invest £1.8 billion to Modernize Postal Service
Royal Mail wants to invest £1.8 billion in the UK to turnaround and grow its primary UK business. This means the further automation of parcels, including the deployment of three new automated parcel hubs necessary. Most Royal Mail parcels are currently hand-sorted, which the company equaled as being in the Victorian period.
The postal service also will introduce a second van delivery in most parts of the country. This is about capitalising on the growth of “night owl” shopping, and it will do this by introducing around 7,000 dedicated van delivery routes from c300 delivery offices by 2023.
Delivery of letters and small parcels will remain unchanged through its existing Delivery Office network
UK letter volumes are expected to decline by 75 per cent in the 2004 – 2024 period. Over the next four years, Royal Mail plans to carefully reduce the number of daily walks from c58,000 to c50,000.
Alongside this, the postal service wants to invest in upgrades to its infrastructure that delivers the Universal Service. This means £115 million invested in upgrading facilities, and £400 million in new vehicles to improve the fleet.
Royal Mail hopes it will be able to convince the union to support its plans in modernizing and growing the UK mail service.
CWU Still on Path to Possible Strike
However, the labor offer doesn’t appear to satisfy the CWU as it believes more needs to be done to address its dispute with Royal Mail, “The pay offer is not linked to the dispute. We are balloting on the direction of the company, them breaching national agreements, the culture of the workplace.”
Further, the CWU said, “The ballot is definitely still going ahead. Papers are dispatched on 3 March, [it] closes on the 17th and the earliest we could call action would be 31 March.”
Earlier this month, Royal Mail claimed the threat of a strike caused its parcel volume growth to decline during the holiday season.
An actual strike would be far more damaging, and both parties need to get this sorted, especially now when many SMEs in the UK are trying to figure out how to maneuver through BREXIT.
What do you think about the dispute between Royal Mail and the CWU?
Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.