BRENDAN Barber has won another battle honour from the employers.
His first was at Gate Gourmet, which publicly congratulated him on its website for the way that he helped to push through a deal that allowed it to sack over 600 Gate Gourmet workers, and cut the wages and worsened the conditions of employment for all new starters.
s far as the Gate Gourmet bosses (Texas Pacific) are concerned, he has star quality. They could not have done it without him.
Yesterday, the Royal Mail was also full of praise for the TUC leader, and the way he worked to get them their Interim Agreement with the CWU leaders.
Mark Higson, Managing Director of Royal Mail Letters, said: ‘I’m extremely grateful to Brendan Barber for the tremendous help and support he has given over the last few weeks.’
After paying this moving tribute to Barber’s work, Higson went on to stress that ‘the future of the Royal Mail pension scheme does not and cannot form any part of this agreement’.
Barber, Ward and Hayes have delivered for Royal Mail an Interim Agreement that stipulates that there will be no local or national strike action over the Xmas period, and that the period up to December 31 will be filled with frenzied modernisation negotiations, so that by January 1, 2010, Royal Mail and the union leaders will be ready to impose a new modernisation deal onto the membership of the CWU.
There is no doubt that from Jan 1, 2010 the struggle will erupt volcano-like as Royal Mail imposes its new deal, agreed with the CWU.
The Interim Agreement makes clear that there is to be ‘a period of calm, free of industrial action during which the parties are committed to work together intensively, to reach agreements that will enable further change and modernisation to be implemented from the beginning of 2010 onward’.
It adds: ‘Both parties have agreed to accelerate and complete the modernisation programme, jointly resolving all issues from phase 4 of the Pay and Modernisation Agreement of 2007 by agreeing key principles and milestones and reaching further National Agreements, recognising the scale and pace of change that will be needed.’
Royal Mail is not done with Brendan Barber either.
The agreement states that, ‘To assist the parties in reaching a full and final agreement they will seek the assistance of Acas and the TUC in nominating an appropriate agreed person to work together with them.’
The first review of the progress of the negotiations will be on November 16 ‘and fortnightly thereafter’.
Further: ‘The intention of both parties is to make significant progress by early December with the aim of concluding a final agreement by the end of 2009.’ It is to be a forced march!
The agreement stipulates that where there has been forced implementation of ‘modernisation’ there will be no restoration of the status quo.
The Agreement states: ‘In offices where change has been implemented without agreement the local parties will engage in genuine negotiations to reach local agreement.’
It also states in clause 2.5: ‘Other people issues arising out of such changes, including any opportunity to offer voluntary redundancy, any reduction in pay or allowances or potential office transfer will be addressed in line with the Managing The Surplus Framework agreement.’
It adds in clause 2.8: ‘If Royal Mail believes people are not working normally this will be raised with the union before any action is taken against employees.’
The implication is that the union, having made the necessary agreements, will have to impose them alongside the management, including giving the go-head to management to sack or otherwise discipline workers!
The Royal Mail is preparing a New Year shock for CWU members. To meet this shock the CWU needs a new leadership. Ward and Hayes must be sacked and replaced by leaders who will fight.