A recruitment boost in Royal Mail Group – and quality jobs for the next generation


The recently agreed national joint statement on resourcing and recruitment is great news for the frontline operation and a new postal apprenticeship scheme promises career opportunities for the next generation as well as paving the way for the re-introduction of the Postal Cadet scheme…

Top-level national discussions between the CWU and Royal Mail Group have resulted in an agreed national joint statement that is a massive step forward in terms of ensuring that there is the correct resource in place to continue to meet the needs of the operation and ensure that Royal Mail Group members, are the most trusted on the doorstep.

The increased traffic volumes throughout the pandemic have highlighted the need for extra jobs and additional hours in many workplaces and this agreement is a hugely significant step in ensuring this is now achieved and that there is an agreed process for filling vacancies and increasing contracted hours.    


Resourcing in general has been centrally driven by management over the past few years, resulting in full-time vacancies not being filled, contracted hours not being increased and an over-reliance on agency workers. Against that backdrop and the increased traffic levels during the pandemic, many of our reps and members have developed local solutions to meet the continual pressure but units have struggled due to the lack of staff.

This diktat from management has been evident for some years now and units have struggled through without having enough members to meet the changing dynamic of the traffic or the increased volumetric. The management policy of either not recruiting, or of only recruiting part-time people and then using them as a flexible resource rather than offering them full-time posts, an over-use of temporary fixed-term contracts and agency has led to a failure fiasco in many units.

The Joint Statement agreed between the CWU and Royal Mail Group therefore commits to prioritising the offer of either full time or permanent positions to existing part-time or temporary-contract workers before going ‘external’ – and when we do recruit externally, the aim will be to maximise direct employment and to progressively reduce the use of ‘third-party’ or agency labour.

Speaking to CWU News, Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary (postal), said: “This will be good news for those on part-time or temporary contracts, but it’s also good news for all our members that workplaces will have the correct hours to do the job going forward.” Terry went on to say, however, that “reps should now use the agreement to constantly challenge and ensure that our members are on the appropriate contract for the hours they perform and that overall hours reflect the workload in the unit. Where management continue to abuse resourcing practices this should be raised through the appropriate dispute resolution process. 

“It is essential for the quality of service we provide and maintaining the trust we have on the doorstep, that we have respectful, fair and professional resourcing arrangements in all of our workplaces. This joint statement is clear on that and is a fundamental part of our cultural change strategy.”

Postal Apprenticeships and Postal Cadets

Nationally agreed terms for a Postal Apprenticeship scheme in Royal Mail Delivery have now been agreed and there will now be a concentrated focus on getting the next generation of young people into this industry, therefore ensuring that the ladder will not be pulled up on younger people who will benefit from quality jobs with terms and conditions negotiated by the trade union. Whilst there have been apprentice jobs in Royal Mail Fleet and Royal Mail Engineering, this is the first national agreement since 2006 that will see sizeable numbers of young people recruited into delivery units.

Terry Pullinger said “We have challenged the logic of the Government in terms of the Apprenticeship Levy on this matter and have at last been able to have genuine dialogue with the company to look at how this money could be utilised better. This has resulted in this agreement being reached and will pave the way for the reintroduction of the Postal Cadet scheme throughout the wider Royal Mail Group.

“The Postal Cadet scheme is, I think, something young people will really welcome. With the current age-profile within the company, we need to recruit those leaving full-time education and starting their journey in the world of work and it’s our view that the proper training, including driving, good on-the-job, and other learning opportunities, with decent pay, terms and conditions, as well as job security, will have a strong appeal.

“One of the things we’ve often asked our members is whether they would recommend working in Royal Mail to a family member – we certainly feel that being a Postal Cadet is something to recommend.”