Postal Conference Day TwoPostal May 1 2019
‘Re-energising’ organising & recruitment
Significant progress has been made to reduce non-union membership among CWU-grade Royal Mail workers – the figure being brought down from over 15 per cent to 11 per cent in the past few years.
And this morning’s motion from London Division proposed the next steps in taking this forward, instructing the Executive to produce a recruitment strategy report within the next three months.
Mark Palfrey, London Divisional Rep, explained as he moved the proposition that this action plan could include “setting a target for each Division to bring that 11 per cent figure down further.
“We’ve got to get our house in order and we’ve got to grow this union within Royal Mail,” he urged.
The motion won strong support during the debate, with delegates from the North East, Scotland, and the South East speaking for the proposals, which were also backed by the Executive.
Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger asked conference to vote for the motion, saying: “It’s right that we re-energise on this.”
He praised the work done so far, listing the various recruitment initiatives the department has led over the past period and said that “it’s absolutely right that we do need to up the profile again.”
As well as the various suggestions contained in the motion, Terry said that he was also speaking to the business about the potential for auto-enrolment of new employees into the union, with a voluntary ‘opt-out’ motion.
Demanding fair treatment for new employees
“I became a rep to fight for equality and give a voice to the voiceless,” said Wolverhampton Branch delegate Steve Moreton this afternoon.
Speaking in support of a motion criticising the treatment of new employees, Steve said: “These new entrants are voiceless and we should be demanding fair treatment, support and proper training.”
Three motions today addressed this issue, Steve’s motion focussing specifically on the unfairness of new entrants being regularly ‘loaned out’ to other offices.
The other two related debates concerned probationary periods and “inadequate training and support” respectively, issues which may well be the prime cause of the relatively high attrition rates within the business.
Speaking for the latter proposition, Outdoor secretary Mark Baulch revealed that thousands of new recruits to the business had left again within their first 12 months.
“This is unacceptable and we’re pushing the company every inch of the way on this,” he said, adding that the union is demanding a tightening up of training procedures for new starters, as well as continuing to press the business on a new apprentice/cadet scheme.
Annual leave ‘nightmare’
Problems around annual leave made up a large part of conference business today.
Eight separated motions highlighted common frustrations over holiday booking, pay, or complications and difficulties caused by bureaucratic systems and procedures.
One of the biggest annual leave related problems at the moment was cited in a motion from York & District Branch, which slammed the “continuing injustice where members lose pay when on annual leave due to the difference between contractual pay and average pay.”
Speaking for the motion on behalf of the Executive, Dave Wilshire said that “for every week this goes on, Royal Mail is saving a seven-figure sum.”
The Executive is pressing the business to reach an agreement to resolve this issue, he added.
Other motions registered complaints about the company’s recent change to a calculation of leave based on hours rather than days, the difficulties faced by members trying to book leave, and problems that can arise when rest days coincide with Bank Holidays.
The PSP system used by the company came in for strong criticism in particular, Helen Beaumont, from South Midlands, describing it as “an absolute nightmare.
“Royal Mail, who sold you this system? Get your money back,” she urged.