Royal Mail refuse to address the safety concerns of CWU members

A meeting with the Royal Mail Group’s senior management team took place today and we discussed the Communication Workers Union’s proposal to create an emergency network in response to the growing Coronavirus pandemic.

 

The CEO, Rico Back, chose not to attend the meeting.  However, he subsequently wrote to the union and regrettably he has failed to seriously address our proposal or the safety concerns of our members.

 

The following will summarise what the company stated at the meeting and the content of their subsequent letter:-

 

  • Despite the increasing pressure on our members through growing sick absence/self-isolation, the company do not believe we need to alter national service standards to move to an emergency network.
  • Royal Mail will not cease the delivery of D2D/advertising mail.
  • Royal Mail will not change their sick absence process which is punishing innocent CWU members, many of whom who have suffered major illness recently.
  • Royal Mail said during the meeting it is safe for you to work in your offices without the full provision of Personal Protective Equipment. Royal Mail believe washing hands is the ‘gold standard’ for safety and enough protection for employees.
  • Royal Mail could not provide any information on how many offices have the necessary PPE in place.
  • Royal Mail stated the safety concerns of CWU members are not widespread.  They said their feedback from managers is much more balanced.
  • Royal Mail have declined an offer to jointly approach Government on our proposal.
  • The CEO confirmed that he does not wish to meet the union anymore during this pandemic.

 

It is clear to us that any progress that has been made on safety in offices across the UK has been delivered by the hard work of our representatives’ structure and we thank our Branches for this.

The response from the Chief Executive and from the senior management team in today’s meeting is totally unacceptable.

We are taking this opportunity to reiterate our previous position to all CWU members on health and safety in the workplace.  This is set out below:-

If Personal Protective Equipment is not in place for all employees, or in any workplace, then that office should cease its operations until the equipment has been provided to all employees.  This includes gloves and hand sanitisers.

If social distancing measures are not in place, in line with the Government advice (2 meters apart), then the office should be closed until this is rectified.  Additional measures in this statement are designed to support the introduction of strict social distancing in every Royal Mail Group workplace.

 

Next Steps

It is clear to us that any progress that has been made in offices across the UK has been delivered by the hard work of our representatives’ structure and we thank our branches for this.

We will now take these matters up directly with the Government, the TUC and our legal representatives.

We will be issuing appropriate press statements.

Finally, the union’s Executive will meet to discuss further actions.

 

Dave Ward                                                                  Terry Pullinger

General Secretary                                                    Deputy General Secretary (Postal)