Postal Day One round-upPostal April 30 2019
Basic industrial reps’ training rollout
“As a unit rep, I want more training in delivery-specific issues to enable me to do my job for members,” explained Newcastle Amal delegate Sharon Wilson this afternoon.
Supporting a successful motion calling for an early basic training programme for new reps to be adopted across all branches, Sharon said that it was “imperative to train reps in the skills they need.”
The industrial training plan in the motion aims to ensure that every new rep undergoes as a minimum a one-day basic workshop in each of four key aspects within their first four months of taking up their post.
Moving the proposition, North East Divisional Rep Bob Maguire explained that the four workshops cover Industrial Relations Framework, Resourcing, Conduct, and Attendance.
“We’ve been undertaking ‘train the trainer’ courses from volunteer reps and there are now 88 trainers around most of our Divisions who are chomping at the bit to get on with this industrial training,” he told conference.
Speaking for the motion on behalf of the executive, Dave Wilshire said: “We need to continue to develop this and develop it at pace.”
Agency rights and young workers’ opportunities
Equal rights for agency workers in Royal Mail was demanded by delegates this afternoon, along with the reintroduction of the ‘cadet’ scheme to provide future opportunities.
Louise Bradley, from South Yorkshire & District, told conference of how she had been on a casual agency contract for a year before being offered a permanent Royal Mail job.
Not knowing how many hours she would be offered from week to week and the insecurity of her situation had been extremely difficult, she said and expressed sympathy with people in that position today.
“These agency workers deserve a permanent job, with the same opportunities as me,” she said, as she moved a motion calling on the executive to negotiate a conversion agreement with the business.
Mahmood Ali supported the motion from the executive, describing the treatment of agency workers as “appalling.”
Nottingham Branch delegate Catrin Godfrey cited the CWU’s ‘New Deal for Workers’ campaign as she moved a proposition instructing the executive to negotiate a full union recognition agreement for Angard-employed workers on Royal Mail.
After coming back to work following last year’s 12th May NDW march, she had been appalled to discover how comparatively badly treated this group of agency workers are treated.
“Without full union recognition, they can be kept on these contracts for years and years,” said Catrin, who pointed at the success of the CWU’s ‘Close the Gap’ campaign as an example of a successful agency workers campaign.
Adam Aucote and from Eastern 3 Branch, supported Catrin’s call and said: “No-one should be used like these workers are” and added that achieving equal treatment was “down to us.”
Executive speaker Mahmood Ali backed this call as well, telling the hall that Angard was partly owned by Royal Mail and that, “after nine years of existence, it’s definitely about time we got recognition.”
Northern Combined Branch delegate David McGinn won support for his proposition for a new postal cadet scheme, telling conference that he was a product of the scheme when it existed previously.
“It was a great opportunity at the time and as a 16-year-old I was on a full-time contract earning a weekly wage,” he explained.
David told of how the training in all relevant aspects of the job had been extremely thorough and there had been organised trips as well, which had broadened his horizons.
“Let’s give the next generation the same opportunity,” he urged.
Replying for the executive, Bobby Weatherall reported that discussions with the business on this had been taking place and that Royal Mail had expressed some interest in the issue.
Gender training needed in Royal Mail
Two motions today called for more training for Royal Mail managers to address a “lack of understanding” of issues specific to female workers.
A new training course “developed by the CWU and shared with the business” is intended to improve employer’s attitudes to “maternity leave, pregnancy and periods” as well as caring responsibilities.
And the second motion focussed specifically on the effects on women at work going through the menopause.
Speaking for the first motion, Wolverhampton Branch delegate Vera Kelsey said that the information about employees’ specific conditions is “not in the right place.”
And her suggestion was that women workers should be involved in the courses.
“Get some women who can tell them what it’s like and what they’re going through,” she urged.
Lynn Simpson supported the proposition on behalf of the executive and commented that “the ignorance of RM managers when it comes to women is sometimes astonishing.”
And management also need to be reminded to consider women’s caring responsibilities, she added.
Catrina Godfrey, from Nottingham Branch, said that Royal Mail’s record on this was bad, but added that the union also had “a bit of a culture problem too” and that the motion’s call for the training to be a joint initiative was right.
Gloucestershire Branch’s Katy Hartland, speaking for the second motion, said: “Managers need education, urgently.”
This proposition called for the Postal Executive to “lobby Royal Mail to introduce a mandatory course to educate their managers on how to deal sympathetically with menopause-related issues at work.”