Frontline reps welcome recruitment boost in RMCE

Postal, Royal Mail Customer Experience

Sara Wright and Ralph Ferrett

News of more new permanent staff coming into Royal Mail’s Customer Experience operation has been described as ‘a positive step in the right direction’ as workloads continue to rise…

Following national-level negotiations between the CWU and company bosses, 60 new starters will begin work at the company in the New Year, while 18 existing temporary-contract workers are to be made permanent.

Customer Experience (RMCE) employees deal with complaints and enquiries from the public and businesses and this function has recently extended its opening hours in response to a significant increase in customer contacts since the beginning of 2020.

“I must stress that this is not an indicator of worsening operational performance, which remains first-class, but more the inevitable consequence of the overall rise in volumes and mails traffic right across the Group,” explains CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey.

“Our CE teams – based at sites in Sunderland, Plymouth, Glasgow, Bangor, Barnsley and Stoke – worked exceptionally hard during the pandemic and, as our nation has begun to emerge from the crisis, there has been no let-up in workloads.

“This is why we worked with management to introduce extended operating hours earlier this year and it’s the reason for the new proactive approach we’re taking with regards to resourcing.”

Sara Wright, CWU rep at RMCE’s Doxford unit in Sunderland said that she “strongly welcomes” the prospect of new recruits coming into the business. 

“It means more hands on the job, less queuing time and hopefully less bad temper from customers,” she told CWU News.

“We’ve been understaffed for a long time, but we’ve also been getting busier and busier.

“Some of the customers who ring in are already frustrated at delivery delays, so when the lack of staff means they have to wait to speak to someone, they can sometimes be in a really bad temper by the time one of our members is able to speak with them.

“So it’s great news to have more full-time and permanent people coming in. It’s not enough – but it is a very welcome step in the right direction.”

Doxford and Plymouth, which both employ over 300 staff, are RMCE’s two largest units, and Plymouth & East Cornwall Branch secretary Ralph Ferrett is equally pleased by the resourcing boost.

“Our members at the local RMCE office will be glad to have more people coming in to help with the rising workloads,” said Ralph, adding: “It’s an indicator that Royal Mail Group is doing well when we see the higher levels of customer contacts.

“But it’s vitally important that the functions that might be considered to be ‘back-office’ parts of RM Group are not forgotten about – and this new resourcing agreement proves that the CWU fights for members in every single corner of the company.”

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