Post Office hopes rise as national pay negotiations resume

Postal, PO Supply Chain


‘Cautious optimism’ from Post Office reps as acting deputy general secretary postal heads into new talks with senior bosses…

CWU reps and members expressed their support for Andy Furey and his negotiating team this morning as formal pay discussions restarted aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over pay. From May to December 2022, eight strikes took place among Post Office Crown and Admin members, while Supply Chain workers struck nine times and, from December, all Post Office members began action short of a strike (ASOS).

In his message to members before today’s talks started, our acting deputy general secretary postal (A/DGSP) expressed once again his admiration for the strong and solid support members have shown over the course of the dispute and his thanks for their determination and their patience. He also explained that the ASOS was being paused in light of the new commitments received from the Post Office leadership to the negotiations.

The direct involvement of the chief executive officer Nick Read, who had not previously attended pay negotiations, was a significant step forward, Andy continued, adding that he had written to Mr Read requesting his personal attention and had raised this during his own appearance at the BEIS (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) Parliamentary Select Committee in January. Subsequent to this, our general secretary Dave Ward and Andy met with the CEO and Jane Davies, the new Post Office chief people officer, on 31st January.

At that meeting, the Post Office agreed to establish new and fresh talks with the specific aim of resolving the pay dispute and the union agreed to pause ASOS. On this, Andy said that pausing the action was the right strategy at this time, but also added that, “in the event that talks are unsuccessful, we can always reactivate the ASOS and, indeed, take strike action as the legal mandate runs to 17th May 2023.”

In the Crowns, ASOS has taken the form of a sales boycott and work to rule, while Admin grades have worked to rule and Supply Chain members have banned overtime and scheduled attendance. And, speaking with CWU News this morning, two of our senior field reps made clear that the position taken by the CWU leadership has been strongly supported by members.

Alan Robertson, Northern Area rep for Supply Chain members, said: “It’s right to pause ASOS while these talks are taking place and it’s also good that the Post Office CEO Mr Read has now met with our general secretary and acting DGSP. Our members have been rock-solid throughout this dispute, but they’ve also become frustrated at the lack of progress by the top management.

“So,” he continued, “it’s a real positive that Andy has got the negotiations restarted. We’ve still got the option of a resumption of ASOS up our sleeve if needed, but we’re all hoping for a deal and in full support of Andy and his negotiating team.”

And Clive Tickner, who represents Post Office Counters members in London and the South East agreed with Alan’s analysis, saying: “Pausing ASOS helps to create the right environment for talks” and making the point that it was “about time” the CEO took more direct responsibility for resolving the dispute. Clive also highlighted the arrival of new chief people officer Jane Davies as something which he hoped could “mean a fresh start to resolving things.

“I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic,” Clive said, but added: “Although if we need to take action again, our members are ready.”