New representative and engagement structure agreed with the Post Office

Postal, Post Office (PO)

A new industrial framework agreed with the Post Office will see a total of 13 full-time representatives – which includes two postal executive members – under an agreement endorsed by the union’s industrial executive today.

The new Collective Engagement Framework (CEF) will “provide continuity and stability” for our members across the Post Office, according to CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey, who led the negotiations on behalf of the union.

“It’s certainly a huge step forward from the position we were in late last year, when the Post Office announced its intention to slash the number of reps from 19 down to just three,” he pointed out.

Following the Post Office’s shock announcement, the union immediately referred the disagreement to arbitration service ACAS and a moratorium was placed on any changes, pending externally-mediated negotiations.

In these discussions, the CWU side put its case that, while recognising that total numbers of CWU-grade staff employed in the business have reduced since the last IR framework review in 2015, and that there was a case for change, cutting rep numbers down to just three was “extremely disproportionate.”

Andy Furey remarked at the time that such an extreme reduction appeared to be “designed to destabilise the union as a precursor to derecognition” and he reminded the business that “there are still over 3,000 CWU-grade Post Office employees and it’s vitally important that all members are able to access decent representation as and when they need it.”

With the assistance of ACAS, a compromise package was eventually reached, whereby the reduction was brought down to a proportionate level, leaving members with 11 field representatives plus two more postal executive delegates – a total of 13.

Going forward, the reps will have extra duties, taking on health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities on top of their IR roles, but with a firm commitment that they will undergo the appropriate, training to ensure they are fully equipped with the necessary skills and confidence to perform the role.

Also, given that the assistance of arbitration service ACAS was crucial in resolving this disagreement, integral and enshrined within CEF is a firm commitment to escalate national disagreements to an external mediator in future.

Summing up, Andy said: “The agreement provides continuity and stability and ensures that our representative structure will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“This has to be good news for our members considering the upheaval and uncertainty our representatives have faced over the last year, and I have no hesitation in strongly recommending this agreement.”

  • A national briefing for branches with Post Office members will be held on Thursday 19th July 1pm – 3pm
  • And a consultative (non-statutory) branch ballot will take place from Thursday July 19 until Friday August 3.
  • Further details, see LTB 388/18