Dignity at Work: Post Office to be ‘safe space for all’


A new Dignity at Work Collective Agreement comes into effect across the Post Office network today, with both the union and management pledging that the company will be “a safe space for all, where everyone feels valued and treated with dignity, courtesy and respect.”

The new agreement replaces the former Bullying and Harassment Procedure that was in force when the Post Office was part of Royal Mail, explains CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey.

“I’m pleased that both sides in this business have jointly affirmed that there is no place for any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment, or victimisation in Post Office workplaces as any such behaviour is contrary to our core values,” he continued.

“We will work together to create and nurture a culture where unacceptable behaviour is swiftly challenged and addressed and this work will includecreating a comprehensive manager and employee toolkit, various posters, e-learning modules and the rolling out of a bespoke Dignity at Work TeamTalk.”

The aims of the Dignity at Work Policy are to support and sustain:

  • a positive working environment for all employees, free from any form of inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour
  • Increase the awareness of what is unacceptable behaviour and that any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation is unacceptable
  • To highlight the options available to employees who feel they are or have been subject to discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation
  • Provide a mechanism for complaints to be properly investigated and addressed.

Key Features of the Collective Agreement include:

  • A definition of the various protected characteristics
  • A clearly defined section on the legal position relating to harassment and discrimination
  • The principles the Post Office are committing to adhere to
  • A summary of behavioural responsibilities for all employees at every level of the Post Office
  • A robust section on the informal process including guidance on record keeping and the ability to seek confidential support and advice
  • The option of involving an internal independent mediator
  • The application of the formal process on a step-by-step basis
  • An explanation on the appeal process including employee rights
  • Clear guidance on precautionary action in sensitive cases
  • Information on the provision of counselling and support where required
  • A simple flow chart outlining the process for both the informal and formal stages.

Describing the introduction of the new Dignity at Work policy as “really positive news,” Andy pointed out that the associated training would be offered to all of our newly-elected CWU representatives across the company and made the point that the agreement “fundamentally enshrines our trade union values.”

“Our members working in the Post Office are entitled to go to work knowing they are going to be treated with dignity and respect,” comments CWU Postal Executive member Lynn Simpson, who has played a leading role in constructing the new policy.

“I’m confident the new Dignity at Work Collective Agreement will serve our members well,” she said, adding: “It sends a clear message that bullying, discrimination, intimidation or threatening behaviours are not acceptable and there are robust procedures in place to ensure a safe working environment.”

The CWU Postal Executive has formally endorsed the collective agreement, as has the union’s equalities department, who have assisted with developing various sections of the policy and a spokesperson for the CWU equality department said: “Embedding dignity at work is essential for our members.

“In today’s rich and diverse society, which is mirrored in many workplaces across the UK, our members want to know that when they come into work they come into a tolerant respectful workplace, generally free from bullying and harassment.

“They are confident that if their dignity and respect is compromised there are established channels where the union will be involved that will robustly deal with this.”