Jobs saved at Royal Mail MDEC site thanks to the CWU

Postal, Royal Mail Group (EMP)

Customs regulations for international mails bound for EU countries create new workstream for members at Bolton who had been facing redeployment and retraining…  

After several months of uncertainty about their futures, manual data entry centre (MDEC) workers employed at the company’s office in Farnworth, Bolton, will now be staying at the site due to new requirements for packets and parcels being sent from the UK to most of mainland Europe.

CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey explains to CWU News that, “mails are affected just like all other aspects of our economy and trade by the details agreed between the UK and the EU for our future arrangements with each other.

“This new area of work involves keying ‘CN22’ (Postal Customs Declarations) codes for outgoing items in order to ensure legal compliance with these international treaty regulations. And the upshot of all this is a whole new workstream for our MDECs members.”

Back in April, it was announced, due to increasing automation of MDEC work, and the consequent sharp decline in this activity, that MDECs workers at Farnworth would be offered the choice of voluntary redundancy or transfers to other Royal Mail Group roles.

“Some of those initially impacted by that announcement have taken redundancy terms, while a few others have been in discussions about switching to other jobs within the business, such as Finance” continues Andy. “But this latest development will mean that every Farnworth-based MDEC worker who wants to stay in post will be encouraged to do so.”

The timetable for the commencement of this new activity is, according to Andy, “quite tight – it needs to be up and running by 15th November and so our Senior Reps on the ground have been involved in some urgent work with the business on duty patterns and relevant staff training.”

CWU area representative Jayne Crolla tells CWU News that two people from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) will be seconded to the Farnworth unit for the next three months to carry out the appropriate training and ensure compliance with the regulations.

“And after that, one of them will be staying here to manage the team,” Jayne says

Work volumes are – in the short to medium term – expected to grow, and there may be a need for further recruitment beyond the 40 extra jobs initially required.

“We’re very pleased embrace  these new jobs for our MDEC members – it’s good news all round,” comments Jayne, who has been in talks with local management on shift and duty patterns and will be in further meetings later this week.

Saf Khan, Postal Executive member and secretary of the CWU’s local North West No.1 Branch, has warmly welcomed the news, saying: “This is a real good news story – for our MDEC members and for the company, and also for this area, saving jobs and with the potential for more jobs going forward.

“The officers and reps have done a tremendous piece of work.”