By a London postal worker
After talks at the arbitration service ACAS, the postal workers' union, the CWU, have finally cut a deal with management on pay and "Major Change". Members were kept in the dark about this for weeks. Now we can see why
it's a complete sell-out!
What have our main negotiator Dave Ward and his team managed to achieve?
- The so-called £26 per week increase we get in return for implementing "Major Change" and achieving Royal Mail targets includes up to £5 from existing bonuses and supplements.
- The delivery targets are based on "the unit manager's assessment of a 3.5 hour span and the introduction of a five-day week." This is the exact same deal Dave Ward was telling us to reject in October because it would divide office against office and handed over all the power to the local governor.
- It assures us that any "issues" arising from this jobs-slashing process will be dealt with under the Industrial Relations Framework but also that a new IR framework will be agreed by March 2004. What is the union's policy for this? (Answer: it doesn't have one)
- On London Weighting, the next measly £300 increase will not be paid until April 2005. The inner/ outer London inequality will remain - what happened to "Parity Not Poverty"? Oh, and we get a "formal review" every two years from 2006 don't hold your breath.
- The increases in Recruitment and Retention Incentive Supplements (RRIS) will be funded wholly or in part from existing bonuses and supplements - again, no new money.
- It allows only that "Saturday attendances will be significantly shorter than weekday attendances" - but in all likelihood will be significantly longer than current Saturdays.
- The agreement boasts of a "30% reduction" on previous savings targets. Ward talked about 12,000 jobs being cut on delivery in the summer. Now it's "just" 8,000?
We should not accept any further job losses. After all the increases in productivity they've extracted from us over the years, we should demand more jobs and shorter working hours. Instead we're offered a five day week that is completely "self-funded" - in other words, no gain to us at all. Like the rest of the agreement, this is a con to make it look as though there's something in it for us, when it's all been robbed out of our back pockets!
Royal Mail (and the union leadership) were in a very tight situation during the November unofficial strikes. Unfortunately as soon as we returned to work, Ward was able to regain control, the pressure was off the bosses, and a couple of months later we end up with this shameful sell-out. Ward wants us to think that it's all a done deal. It is not.
The first thing we need to do is reject this deal. Our ballot starts on 12 January. Activists will have to argue hard, as most members are still not at all or only slightly aware of what is in the deal. We need to tell management that we won't accept their "savings targets" and demand that revisions are based on:
- No loss of duties
- Permanent jobs for contractors, and
- Five-day weeks 100% funded by Royal Mail.