Outdoor Secretary’s Introduction
Issue 55 December 2018
Outdoor Secretary’s Introduction
The future holds a number of challenges for the CWU and its members. With the recent departure of Chief Operations Manager Sue Whalley, Royal Mail (at the time of writing this Bulletin) are currently announcing the results of an internal review of their managerial structure, with changes in personnel and roles, however sadly some of those senior management positions have already been given to some familiar names. No doubt this will set the scene for the tone of our discussions along with how these will be shaped in regards to the New Delivery Agreement in 2019 along with the other parts of the Four Pillars and Pay Agreement and the commitments contained within it.
Lots of activity has already been taking place but to a degree a current hiatus has been observed whilst the management review is being undertaken, however, we expect things to move at a significant pace in the New Year with regard to the shape and direction of the company going forward. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead of us as overall Nationally letter volumes continue to decline and parcels grow. This dynamic is changing the company faster than anyone expected, particularly with the effect of GDPR combined with the uncertainty regarding Brexit and the effect both of these factors are having on direct marketing mail and advertising. We will of course rise to meet those challenges and work tirelessly as always to get an agreement worthy of your continued support, whilst also pushing Royal Mail back where we do not believe they have our members’ best interests at heart, or indeed the customers.
Early next year we will be coming out to meet with both your Area and Local Reps across the country in order to discuss with them the next phase of our National agreement and where, given the restructure of the company, this places us in that regard. The fight to get that agreement was difficult and yet magnificent by our members and if required to do so, we will look for your support again in any dispute with the employer in order to gain the right agreement on your behalf that secures a decent working environment and the best terms and conditions in the industry. OUTDOOR E-BULLETIN ISSUE 55 / December 2018 Page 2
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for the support that you have given us this year in the Outdoor Department and on behalf of us all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year.
Yours in solidarity,
Assistant Secretary OUTDOOR E-BULLETIN ISSUE 55 /December 2018 Page 3
Delivery Issues / General Update
Safe & Connected
Start-up meetings for the Safe & Connected Trial have now taken place in the 3 trial sites of New Malden, Whitby & Liverpool North. All OPGs in the offices have been briefed on what is entailed in the trial and what is expected of them. The training content has been agreed, and the Workplace Coaches have been trained and fully involved in all of the offices. There will be a gradual increase of OPG involvement in the trial over the coming weeks leading to the full potential of participants (elderly, lonely and vulnerable) receiving calls from our members.
A joint working group has also been set up involving Local, Area, Divisional, H&S and National Representatives who meet and also conduct conference calls on a monthly basis, and where required in between times.
All Local and National groups have met twice in the past couple of months to deal with the various issues that have presented themselves throughout the trial. All the representatives in the trial sites are doing an excellent job of managing the day-to-day and week-to-week running of the trial which is a credit to them and this union. We have not met any challenges up to now that have been insurmountable, but we do monitor and record the issues and challenges we meet. The Department will keep you apprised of further progress along with the review of the trial.
Delivery Method Trials
Further to the recent article in the CWU Voice Magazine regarding the Delivery Methods trials as part of the 2018 Guiding Principles Agreement and the agreed Terms of Reference, a two day National Review meeting took place on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th October. It was broken down into two parts, day one consisted of joint feedback presentations and reports from each unit, and day two discussions took place between the Department and the Royal Mail Delivery Director and Project Leads. This was to discuss immediate next steps for the trial offices along with how the outputs, information and experiences generated from the trial would be reviewed overall and the process for this.
As above, on day one, reports were jointly presented by the local Royal Mail project manager and the CWU Postal Executive member who supported each of the 8 trial units. In addition, comprehensive reports were prepared from RM’s National managers which are responsible for Safety, Health and Environment, Ergonomics, Security, Quality and Customer and Industrial Engineering and a summary overview of each of these was presented during the course of the day.
The scale of data and information contained within the above presentations and reports is difficult to put into context; however the fact that the slides equate to a total of 183, should give some recognition of how detailed the respective reports are on all of those subject matters. There is a huge amount of data that needs to be jointly worked through and reviewed in line with all of the key metrics and success criteria contained within the original Terms of Reference.
The key themes and outputs were as follows:
In respect of Walk Sequencing there has been a clear improvement on the percentage of wave 1 mails, the challenge however remains that there are certain days of the week when the operation or pipeline means that the consistency of the percentage is still a concern and there also remain issues relating to bulk postings and the impact on the sequencing percentages. In addition, there have been improvements on the presentation of walk sequenced mails, but there is still further work to do in regards to missorts, seasonal challenges, commercial constraints linked to mailmark and also IT/technology solutions to redirections.
In regards to Door to Door, whilst there have been positives in some of the trial units relating to the items being processed through an automation/collation solution being supplied, the trial OUTDOOR E-BULLETIN ISSUE 55 / December 2018 Page 4
however has not proved or resolved in a number of metrics how the product could be delivered or controlled adequately in a no “cold calling” method. In addition, what the bundle sizes need to be and the quality of service and safety elements of a second bundle has not been adequately resolved. Furthermore, key to any proposed new delivery method is Royal Mail’s future strategy regarding this product both in relation to its delivery specification, and also the future automation strategy and investment for D2D, however presently this very much remains unknown and unclear.
In respect to Efficiency, there have been studies undertaken by RM’s Industrial Engineers relating to the methods they witnessed in terms of actual observations on the revised ways of working, indoors and outdoors and then as a result of the core tasks of preparation of sequenced mail and D2D being avoided, what the overall efficiency implication was.
At present, the headline across the variations of the five different concepts being trialled throughout the eight sites has shown potential “savings benefits” however the CWU view is that these overall values are still open to question. This is particularly so regarding some of the additional ancillary tasks now being generated as part of the trial and the time of year and seasonal effects and impact of weather conditions is also a factor for the delivery methods, conditions of the mail when wet etc and the times and ease for carrying out the tasks, something which RM have accepted as further points that need to be considered.
In addition, one of the key metrics for consideration as part of the efficiency consideration during the trial was whether any method change would be simple to carry out and easy to understand based on the designated equipment to be used, and whether it will be appropriate to be deployed nationally and embedded across all future delivery routes, balanced alongside what the potential cost implications will be for training, equipment and revision planning.
In relation to this aspect what the trials have sadly proven yet again, as this seems to be a common theme, is that the project team has to go into the units to establish and fix the base data and address the day to day operational failings. In fact more focus, energy and time has been consumed with this during the trial in some cases than actually evaluating and conducting the trial itself. Therefore without a major spotlight and resource focused on delivery units, many operational managers simply manage chaos and are not capable of embedding or managing change.
In relation to Safety across the trials, there remain areas that are a concern to the Department. It is clear there needs to be further work on behalf of RM to engage with their respective Area Safety Advisors to be engaged in the trials and ensure all elements of the revised ways of working have been considered.
At present it seems Royal Mail are only in a position to provide a subjective view based on theory and not via evidence of seeing the changes in a live environment to be able to provide factual views. In addition, there are other factors around perceived risks, heightened potentials for increased accidents and also the lack of IT/technology solutions to address the hazards which are experienced through delivery walk logs and identified/controlled via the prep frame. Any revised method needs to ensure those areas are addressed.
In relation to Ergonomics, there have been as part of the studies undertaken, areas that have been identified that at present the full multiple bundle method i.e. 3 bundles isn’t recommended for deployment alongside the existing delivery equipment. In relation to the 2 bundles concept, there are also areas that have been identified that are areas of concern both in terms of the back to back method, but also across all of the concepts as there is an increase in the mental fatigue and physical demands being reported which has had negative impact on individuals’ overall wellbeing. This is a particular concern as one of the biggest reported causes of sick absence currently is mental stress and anxiety; many of those individual members taking part in the trial said that they personally experienced this.
All of the above are the overarching points that came out of day one of the National Review.
As part of day two it was clear that following discussions, both parties agreed that there were concerns with continuing with certain aspects of the trial and the fact the offices were awaiting OUTDOOR E-BULLETIN ISSUE 55 /December 2018 Page 5
guidance from the National Review. However there are some areas that both parties wished to jointly explore further in order to refine the methods and understand how to address issues observed in the trials and understand whether there are any of the concepts that can be further worked on to consider as part of any wider deployment/roll out.
As such, both parties agreed a Joint Statement based on those discussions and all of the units which continue with the method have managed to obtain the required number of volunteers. We have agreed with RM that the same principles of support will continue between the SMEs and CWU Leads overseeing the trials, and also that given the smaller concentration of individuals continuing, it will allow a greater focus from the other key metrics i.e. Safety, Ergonomics etc to try and close down the number of areas that remain a concern.
We have agreed that this next phase of joint trial work will be expected to continue until January 2019. In addition, this will allow all of the learning and data to be considered in parallel with discussions and development of the New Delivery Agreement that will also be taking place over the coming months and further updates will be reported in due course.
Automated Hours Data Capture (AHDC) and Resource Scheduler Trials – Update
LTB 685/18, dated the 6th December, set out an update on activities and confirmed that the current status in relation to both trials is that they continue to be the subject of National review and discussion and that no agreement has been concluded in respect of deployment.
The LTB also confirmed to Branches that the Department had recently become aware of advertisements that have been issued by the business for managerial positions on the Enterprise Team which appear to indicate that both initiatives are to be deployed. Representation has therefore been made to the business on the basis of reaffirming that the commitments contained within the National Guiding Principles Agreement and the Terms of References for both initiatives have not been met and onward deployment has not been agreed.
In response, the business has acknowledged that the wording on the job advert appears more definite than the current understanding on the Joint Working Groups would support, and have clarified that the adverts have been issued to generate enthusiasm amongst potential candidates. Equally, they have informed us that it would be made absolutely clear to candidates at the selection stage that both initiatives are still subject to joint activity, discussion and National agreement prior to any further roll out.
We will of course report to Branches and Representatives any developments in relation to the outputs of the National reviews at the appropriate time. However, in the meantime you are asked to ensure that should any attempts be made to progress to deployment for either of these initiatives that the relevant Department is made aware as a matter of urgency.
Delivery Office Closures
LTB 221/18 requested that Branches make submissions to CWU HQ regarding the National Agreement on Closures, Mergers and Rationalisation of Delivery Offices.
A full review of the agreement is commencing (as part of Section 19 of the National Agreement), and is led by Mick Kavanagh from the Department. Following meetings with the company, a Terms of Reference has been agreed and further progress on this issue has been made. Further meetings are planned to take place in the next few weeks.
Further to previous reports and in line with Conference policy we have been in discussions with Royal Mail regarding the internal transfer policy and process. As a consequence, we have received proposals from the company in this regard and these have been discussed at length – it is safe to say that we are currently some way apart in terms of coming to an agreement and in the meantime we have submitted counter proposals to Royal Mail for consideration. OUTDOOR E-BULLETIN ISSUE 55 / December 2018 Page 6
LTB 691 and 692, both dated the 12th December, reported on the agreed Terms of References in relation to the trials of a new Lighter Weight Polo Shirt and the trial of a new Polo Shirt Maternity Top.
Both trials of the new Polo Shirts are based on a lighter weight fabric of 200gsm (as opposed to the current 250gsm), with the aim being, subject to trial feedback, for both new tops to be made available for general uniform order in midsummer of 2019.
As part of ongoing talks around general uniform matters, the Department has now been formally advised by Royal Mail that it is currently undertaking a tendering process in respect to its uniform supplier. Currently, Royal Mail is seeking bidders and is planning to review these during February to March of 2019.
Royal Mail have given the CWU clear assurances that any changes to its current uniform supplier would not impact on the current general uniform range and those items currently under trial, and that the Union will be involved and consulted in respect to next steps. The matter remains under review by the Department and further discussions in the New Year have been sought on this development.
Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions Ltd (previously Romec) and Servest