Fight for fairness goes on as Swiss Post members endure real-term pay cut

Telecoms & Financial Services



The CWU has pledged to intensify pressure on Swiss Post Solutions to recognise the contribution made by members in BT mailrooms throughout the pandemic following a pay settlement which sees remuneration levels dip below the Real Living Wage (RLW) for the first time since their outsourcing by BT.

To keep pace with the RLW, the lowest paid employees in Swiss Post would have required a pay rise of 2.15% simply to maintain the minimum level that the Living Wage Foundation believes is required to live on, rather than merely survive, outside London.

But, instead, those on the BT contract – who were required to work through the pandemic on account of the essential nature of their duties – are on course to receive only a 1% consolidated increase with an additional 0.3% to0.4% being applied to harmonise the very lowest hourly rates.

Following exceptionally difficult talks – during which vehement CWU’s arguments for the maintenance of RLW pay rates were successively dismissed  – the union’s negotiating team did, however,  manage to move SPS from its opening position that there would be no pay review for 2021 at all on account of the company’s ‘global’ pay policy.

As such, despite profound CWU misgivings over the quantum,  SPS’s ‘final’ offer was placed before members on the BT contract earlier this month on the basis that negotiations had run their course and the deal on the table was the best that could be achieved by negotiation alone.

The consultative ballot result, which was announced last Thursday, saw members voting nine-to-one on a 67% turnout to accept the offer on that basis.

Tracey Fussey

Newly elected CWU national officer for SPS, Tracey Fussey insists: “SPS management would be making a huge mistake if they interpreted members’ acceptance of the deal as an indicator of employee satisfaction at what is still clearly an intensely disappointing pay settlement.

“Sadly, what we’ve witnessed in Swiss Post Solutions this year bears out what we’ve always known to be the case – namely that outsourcing leads to downward pressure on pay and terms & conditions. These members have been put through the outsourcing mill twice – first when they were outsourced by BT to CBRE and then as a result of the further sub-contracting by CBRE that took them to Swiss Post.

“At each and every outsourcing it seems that the receiving company attempts to create a further differential to where they started from – and that’s a challenge that the CWU has to take very seriously indeed.

“The CWU national team has not budged one iota from the view that the fact our SPS members are beginning to drop behind the RLW is a damning indictment of the downward pay pressures on those providing contracted out services to highly profitable blue chip companies.

“As such we’ll be missing no opportunities whatsoever to remind SPS that they fail to recognise the contribution made by hard-working low paid employees at their peril – and that the CWU is simply not prepared to countenance year-on-year decreases in the real value of our members pay.”