CWU: Temporary relaxation to Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation call

CATEGORY: Ecommerce

The CWU have released a statement sets out what they believe is the right position for Royal Mail and the Government to immediately adopt in relation to Royal Mail Group and the services it provides. This includes a temporary relaxation to the Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation.

Other measures include suspending unaddressed mail (advertising) and a ton of measure to protect staff including social distancing, working alternate days and ensuring gloves and hand santisers are readily available. They also call for Posties to take on additional social measures such as checking on elderly and delivering food parcels and prescriptions, as well as prioritising government communications and the delivery of Coronavirus test kits.

For the CWU to even suggest that the Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation not be upheld is a shocker in itself – this is one of the things that the CWU have been fighting to preserve alongside the rights of workers and so to suggest it be suspended in the current crisis, although not surprising in itself, shows how seriously they are taking the current situation. A suspension now could pave the way to permanent changes to the Royal Mail Universal Service Obligation in the future and that’s definitely not something the CWU want to see occur.

CWU Royal Mail Emergency Network suggestions

The CWU suggest that Royal Mail immediately introduce an emergency network based on the following principles:-

  • 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 metres 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.
  • The company should cease acting as a commercial operation and instead operate as a vital national service, in line with the Government giving postal workers key worker status.
  • All unaddressed advertising mail should be immediately suspended.
  • The Government contracts enabling public testing and the delivery of Government information to the public must be prioritised.
  • In conjunction with the Government we should look to maximise the opportunity for Royal Mail’s unrivalled infrastructure to be utilised in helping the country deal with the Coronavirus crisis. This could include checking on the elderly and vulnerable to flag up any concerns, collecting and delivering food parcels and likewise with medical prescriptions and equipment.
  • As a strictly one-off resolution to the current crisis, Daily deliveries should be reduced to three times a week with only parcels/packets and first class mail being delivered on alternate days.
  • Royal Mail should make an immediate public statement on the above mentioned introduction of an emergency network.
  • All employees should only be compelled to work alternate days there by cutting in half the amount of people in any operational unit on any one day, this to enable strict social distancing and total equipment cleansing prior to each day.
  • Every effort should now be made to secure the testing of RMG employees to identify and respond to high risk in all units.
  • Everyone over 65 should only be at work if they are happy to do so and if not should be placed on Special Leave with Full Pay for the duration of the crisis.
  • All vulnerable/at risk employees as identified by Public Health England advice should all now be on full pay for absences relating to coronavirus.
  • All employees with vulnerable/at risk people at home should be allowed 12wks on full pay.
  • Where someone within the work location has been diagnosed with the virus, the workplace should be shut for a deep clean before re-opening for business.
  • The use of private cars as a contingency measure should cease.
  • Agency workers should only be used in the event that there is a genuine shortfall in the alternative working daily resourcing and the prioritised delivery of 1st & 2nd Class USO Mail and parcels. (all agency must meet strict vetting criteria).

“We believe the above emergency service principles should be introduced immediately. We are available to discuss with you any alternative suggestions that protect our members, help minimise the spread of the virus, whilst maximising Royal Mail as an emergency service to help the country.”
– Dave Ward &Terry Pullinger, CWU

20 Responses

  1. There’s a good piece from the WEO, highlighting the strain being placed of postal services around the globe, a piece that specifically reiterates the pleas from RM workers for sellers not to ship non-essential items.

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/can-i-send-mail-postal-services-coronavirus-covid19/

    Given we’re now seeing postal volumes exceeding Christmas levels, these suggestions from the CWU are hardly surprising, and it must now be crystal clear that the prompt shipping of essential items is not only being affected, but may well be further hampered by these new restrictions, if implemented.

    I think there will certainly be a backlash. The Independent, today, for example, questions the need for people to order non-essential items, there’s a public clamour for big businesses like ASOS to do “the sensible thing” and close operations, workers making cardboard boxes have today exposed unsafe working practices, and there will inevitably be a growing reluctance for buyers to be seen to have bought non-essential items in this current emergency. There may even be some sort of backlash against eBay themselves, given that Amazon has been seen to prioritise essential shipments while ebay has not.

    As we see more infection, more deaths, more tragedy in every region of the UK, it must surely be time for ebay sellers to refrain from selling non-essential items. Indeed, friends and relatives may well ask about this, both now and perhaps years from now, with sellers facing the choice of either lying, or admitting that they did indeed help hamper the efforts taken to keep vital supplies moving through the postal system.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/coronavirus-delivery-package-mail-safe-online-shopping-order-warehouse-a9435706.html

  2. @Gav

    It’s a judgment call, both for buyers and sellers, and we can’t expect everyone to be sensible in a time of crisis. But here we are, with the trade in non essential items so great that people, all the way along the logistics chain, are being put at extra risk. And while a significant number of buyers and sellers simply don’t give two hoots, those personal decisions will have a statistical effect on the risks to which people are exposed.

    Personally, I’m proud of the fact that, rather than claim that there is nothing I can do, I realised that I could reduce that risk, and so I immediately withdrew my listings, several days ago. Obviously I feel strongly about this, and others will be less so but, as I say, it’s a judgement call.

    Trainers falling apart, and the only footwear a buyer possesses? Highly unlikely.
    Children growing, and only possessing one outfit? Highly unlikely.
    Children without any existing toys, with no access to computer entertainment, books, or any improvised stimuli from their parents? Again, highly unlikely.

    The point is, we can help save lives, both as sellers and buyers, by understanding the desperate need to avoid clogging up vital logistics with the sort of items that you feel are needed, when clearly, given this national emergency, they’re not.

  3. RMG should have this in place for its employees the safety measures weeks ago if there is no hand sanitizer it is not being responsible.

    Hand sanitizer is a must and should be supplied. It took the supermarket I drive for weeks to even get us that, and you have to fight them to keep it supplied in the vans.

    Social distancing when out in loading bays is impossible, God knows what it is like in a sort centre.

    Everywhere is under the pressures because of staff going off sick and isolating.
    We will have our eyes opened wide to the good employers at the end of all this and the poor ones.
    The mail is a vital service and should keep going and if people have to hang on a few days so be it, we need to put people first for once.

  4. Royal mail have rejected all the cwu proposals and are not interested . They say that nothing is wrong and no need to change junk mail will continue.

  5. Typical that the old white British men in the CWU want less work, while the immigrants working for Uber, Deliveroo, Yodel, Hermes and the other delivery companies are stepping up to the challenge and working harder.

  6. yep we think our local yodel driver is doing a great job
    hes a 50th generation Italian his family came over with hadrian
    and our hermes drivers family were french immigrants that came over with William in 1066
    WERE ALL IMMIGRANTS OF ONE FLAVOUR OR ANOTHER

Comments are closed.

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