CWU achieves ‘step forward’ on Royal Mail furlough


Royal Mail members needing to take time off work during the current pandemic will benefit from a number of key concessions achieved by the CWU during detailed and extensive talks with the business.

Reporting to the union’s postal executive (PE) today, acting assistant secretary Carl Maden explained that access to the Government’s ‘furlough’ scheme – not previously applicable within the company – will now be made available to postal workers on the basis of certain criteria and subject to application.

“In summary, members who may apply for this include those who can produce a letter from the NHS confirming that either they are in the official ‘extremely vulnerable’ category and have been moved onto nil or half-pay while on Royal Mail sick leave, or a member of their household for whom they have caring responsibilities has the NHS letter and they have to shield to protect them,” said Carl.

“And anyone taken onto the furlough scheme will have to take at least two weeks of their annual leave as part of the arrangement,” he adds.

Financially, the furlough scheme ensures workers are paid their full wages while laid-off, with the Government underwriting 80 per cent of this money, while the employer pays the remainder – subject to certain maximum allowances.

Today’s PE meeting formally approved the furlough arrangements, although Carl will be meeting with the same two senior Royal Mail IR/HR directors again next week to seek to mitigate one or two of the aspects of the plan where some concerns still remain.

“While this has to be seen as a step forward, we are still uncomfortable with a couple of the detailed clauses and we are awaiting some answers to questions we have posed. We have asked them to take away our points and give them some consideration before we meet again,” he explained.

“But for the time being, we’re pleased overall with progress which has been made and will be a real, practical help to many of our vulnerable members – or those with a  vulnerable relative within their households.”

“And we will continue to fight for other groups of members who are not being paid full sick pay.

For further details, please see LTB 228/20