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Thursday, 20 September 2007

 CWU Announces Further Postal Strikes

 
The Communication Workers Union is announcing today (Thursday) that there will be further strike action in response to Royal Mail’s draconian and destructive proposals on pay and business changes. There remains no agreed pay deal, which was due on 1st April 2007, and the pay offer is linked to unacceptable propositions on flexibility and decreased pensions benefits. Royal Mail has announced the implementation of unagreed operational changes.
 
The CWU’s Postal Executive have agreed the following strike dates:
 
A 48 hour strike on the 5th & 6th October.

A 48 hour strike on the 8th & 9th October.

Week commencing 15th October a rolling programme of functional strikes to continue weekly until the resolution of the dispute.
 
Dave Ward, Deputy General Secretary, said: “Despite five weeks of negotiations Royal Mail have failed to take on board the union’s message that in order for the business to succeed Royal Mail need to invest in their workforce.
 
“Strikes are a proportionate response to an employer that is completely out of control. Rather than running the business, Royal Mail’s actions demonstrate they are intent on destroying it.
 
”The workforce has had enough of Royal Mail messing them around. We’re not going to tolerate an employer that ignores its workforce, ignores the union and ignores its customers.”
 
In the last week the company has announced the following:
 
Executive action on their pension proposals - Royal Mail will be communicating this to staff next week.
 
Executive action through the imposition of later starts on the 8th October.
 
Executive action through the imposition of network changes on the 23rd October.
 
Executive action through the cessation of Sunday Collections on the 28th October.
 
Executive action through the cessation of Employee Share of Savings scheme (ESOS) on the 10th October.
 

The union remains committed to reaching an agreement which benefits the business and employees and will continue talking to management.

 

Royal Mail Condemns Cwu Strike Decision

 Royal Mail today condemned the decision by the Communications Workers Union to call further strikes. The decision comes after five weeks of discussions, under the auspices of the TUC and ACAS, to try to resolve the issues that lie behind the dispute. During those talks we offered both short and long term solutions, while keeping within the 2.5% available for pay this year but rather than accept a way forward the union tabled proposals that would cost the business £2.4 billion over four years.

The company also criticised the CWU for failing during seven months of talks to produce any serious proposals that could help resolve the issues that lie between us and move the business forward.

It is clear from our discussions that the CWU leadership does not begin to understand the challenges facing Royal Mail and the very serious consequences for the business if we do not push ahead and modernise.

Instead of developing concrete and viable proposals for the business, which they have publicly committed to do, the CWU is clinging to its historic stance of promising "working groups" to discuss changes in the future for money upfront - changes which in the past have always failed to materialise. The union’s unrealistic and unreasonable demands show how the CWU leadership has again failed to understand that no change is not an option and that talking shops will not secure the future of the Royal Mail.

Royal Mail also criticised the union for misleading their members over the important issue of pensions. The union has wrongly said that we have taken "executive action" on pensions when they know the company has not yet started its official 60-day pension consultation, which will begin in the first week in October and during which we will be listening to the views of all our people and other stakeholders. Any other future operational changes recently announced by the company have been done in line with our existing agreements with the union and give the proper notice period before the change.

The call for further strikes does not change the urgent need for Royal Mail to modernise and become more flexible and efficient if it is to survive. For our people, flexibility would simply mean working the hours they are paid to work and to do what they are trained to do in a safe environment - something which has been taken for granted for many years in almost every company in the UK.

The union’s repeated refusal to contemplate the changes we must make if we are to be able to compete in an increasingly tough market simply shows that they are completely out of touch with UK industry and the reality of how competitive markets work.

We have been negotiating with the CWU over pay and flexibility since March 2007 and, as a result of the CWU decision to return to strike action, we will now begin to make the changes that we have been discussing with the union and our people for many months.

Royal Mail would like to thank both the TUC and ACAS. As ever, we remain willing to meet with the union at any time.

The facts remain:
• The mail market in the UK is declining by 2.5% per year
• Royal Mail has lost 40% of bulk business mail to rival postal operators
• Overall this year, rivals will handle one in five of all letters posted in the UK
• Our rivals are 40% more efficient not because their people work harder but because they have already modernised - as we must now do - and have much more technology
• Our rivals pay their people 25% less than we do at Royal Mail

 
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