Post Office members safeguarded from disciplinary actionPostal June 29 2018
Senior Post Office management have given strict instructions to Crown Office managers that they must not conduct code staff in breach of agreed procedures, following determined representations from the CWU.
The serious issue arose earlier this year, when the union’s Clerical & Cash Handling department received numerous complaints from representatives that managers were taking disciplinary measures against counter staff who, through no fault of their own, had recorded losses through their tills.
“We were alarmed at these reports,” says CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey, adding that, in one instance, a member was wrongly suspended for 10 weeks by a manager who had acted outwith the agreed procedure.
Such was the concern over the issue amongst members that our annual conference back in April approved a proposition from our Glasgow & District Amal and Plymouth & East Cornwall Amal Branches instructing the CWU executive to:
“…take steps to ensure that the Post Office reaffirms its commitment to, and abides by the Nationally Agreed procedures in the Conduct Code and the Losses and Gains Procedure until such time as they are renegotiated and any replacement or amended version is agreed…”
“There are any number of reasons why a till might either be up or down at the end of the day or week,” said Andy, “and there is a long-established and effective procedure for addressing any discrepancies and investigating the reasons, which falls within a national agreement between the CWU and the business.”
Disciplinary procedures may only be invoked if there is a reasonable suspicion of theft, according to the Losses and Gains protocol within the Crown Office Staffing Agreement (COSA).
COSA, a collective agreement, has been in force for many years and was fully protected within the Schedule of Agreements covered by TUPE following the Post Office separation from Royal Mail Group.
Following the conference resolution, Andy and his team took up these points of principle directly with the senior national leadership at the Post Office, making it clear to them in no uncertain terms, that the breaches of the agreement by local managers were completely unacceptable.
And the CWU’s representations succeeded when the company’s senior employee relations manager Lee Kelly wrote formally to Andy pledging that local managers will be instructed to fully comply with the agreed Losses and Gains procedures.
“This is good news and the conference motion, which flagged up the issue to the whole union and won their full support, was clearly instrumental in achieving this swift progress,” said Andy.
“We still need to push a bit further to achieve a full ‘clean slate’ for our members where discipline penalties were issued under inappropriate circumstances – but it was critical to ensure that we got a full re-affirmation of the existing agreement from the Post Office, which we have achieved.”
· For further details, please see LTBs 368 & 200