ROYAL MAIL BOSSES ‘SECRET PLAN’ –to smash the CWU and casualise the industry

Postal workers march outside the Labour Party Conference urging the government not to back the break up of the industry
Postal workers march outside the Labour Party Conference urging the government not to back the break up of the industry

ROYAL Mail management and government have a secret plan to smash the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and privatise the Royal Mail. It has been leaked however, and News Line is pleased to be able to publish it.

It is titled ‘Dispute: Strategic Overview – Where we are and the next steps’, and is dated 24 September 2009. ‘In strictest confidence’, the leaked document begins by outlining:

Our Objectives

It says:

Through the dispute

• ‘Deliver the necessary 2009 changes with or without union agreement

• ‘Deliver the ongoing changes required to complete the transformation – both operational and people/relationships

• ‘Maintain stakeholder confidence through the difficulties caused by IA

• ‘Minimise impact on customers

From the settlement

• ‘2009 required changes are not unpicked

• ‘Deliver the business changes necessary to complete transformation

• ‘New approach to relationships (employee and industrial relations) means risk of future strikes or non co-operation is minimised – programme in place to consolidate this

Enablers to achieving objectives

• ‘Demonstration of resolve through dispute – strikes don’t work

• ‘Demonstration of commercial impact of dispute – strikes make things worse – the more we can demonstrate this to our people the better

• ‘New governance/political settlement (possibly)

• ‘New agreement if possible covering the new changes required – three strands of Phase 4

• ‘Framework for delivery of change without agreement if necessary

• ‘New approach to/investment in people procedures, training and equipping managers etc.

Phase 4 Agreement overview

• ‘Scale of change and value of reward available makes for a difficult package for CWU to accept.

• ‘Plans therefore have to be developed for both a way forward through agreement and non-agreement.

• ‘Any agreement must facilitate change deployment rather than allow it to be frustrated

• ‘Agreement not the only outcome – could be non agreement but acquiescence or outright opposition

• ‘Any non agreement that results in major disruption must mean the union – but not our people – lose rather than stand still

Overall Shape of an agreement

• ‘Commitment to work together for a successful business

• ‘Moving on from the 2007 Agreement

• ‘Removal of restrictive practices in delivery to support new delivery model

• ‘New frameworks for “doing’’ change in delivery, network, processing

• ‘New framework for employer/employee/union management based on commitments, responsibilities and on resolving issues rather than based on procedures and disagreements

• ‘Reward linked to ability to pay, new assessment of priorities for scarce cash and milestone achievements

• ‘All in context of wider business transformation programme involving not just deployment of operational changes but transforming the way we work and relate together – employer/employee/union

Content of a Phase 4 Agreement

Future Working

• ‘Saturdays, variable spans and later finishes

• ‘D2D into workload; end to separate payments

• ‘Transparency of delivery data, based on updated validation of values

• ‘Delivery Best Practice and Methods are for consultation not negotiation

• ‘Frameworks for change in network and processing


• ‘Take steps to relate pay more directly to work done – simplify allowances etc

• ‘Re-allocate available moneys to leverage change; link to milestone achievements

• ‘Reward linked introduction of change in unit/area

• ‘Move to monthly pay?

• ‘Introduce quarter 4 and then 2010/11 productivity scheme

• ‘Refocus MtSF on stayers rather than (pension) leavers


• ‘New IR framework/recognition agreement clarifying

‘ – strategic involvement commitments and processes

‘ – who faces whom

‘ – negotiations/consultation

‘ – release and funding issues

‘ – Professionalising IR – joint training etc

‘ – New process for doing change through agreement

‘ – timescales linked to delivery of change not stages in procedures

• ‘New approach to people policies and processes

‘ – Trial more modern/less parent-child approaches

‘ – Supported by joint training to maximise benefits


• ‘End September: sign re-engagement joint statement or unilaterally apply it/seek to consult on post implementation reviews locally

• ‘End September: agree detailed framework and ground rules for Phase 4 talks

• ‘(8 October – ballot closes)

• ‘October onwards – detailed talks on new agreement

• ‘October onwards – announce new mail centre reviews. Network 10 consultation etc

• ‘October – December (?) intensive parallel talks to conclude agreement – major initiatives being synchronised towards the end to bring it all together January (?) – ballot on new deal

• ‘Resume change deployment on basis proposed after new deal ballot or once non agreement becomes clear

• ‘If agreed, 2010 programme of joint training, and other relationship activity

• ‘If un-agreed, consider programme of reducing relationship with union

Non agreement

• ‘Putting transformation on hold because of non agreement is not an option

• ‘Equally, indefinite employee non cooperation and strikes destroy value and unsustainable

• ‘The non agreement route should be sufficiently credible and unattractive to leverage acceptance of change by agreement

• Involves inevitability of change deployment – dates will allow for reasonable consultation but it will happen. If and when it becomes apparent that nationally agreed restrictive practices – eg Saturdays – can’t be renegotiated, serve notice.

• ‘A new relationship with our people is non-negotiable and will happen anyway, with or without union agreement

• ‘A new relationship with CWU is only available through negotiation, and as part of the whole package of change.

‘If it remains unagreed, serve notice of current IR framework and facilities/release arrangements and substitute legal minimum.

• ‘Actively down-dialling role of union likely to succeed only if alternative forums for employee voice available to avoid opposition born of disenfranchisement

• Reward linked to delivery of transformation in stages would go ahead as direct incentive to our people.

• ‘Timing of all this to be determined by events.

Tactics – towards a deal

• ‘Through a mixture of pressures bring union to a point where doing a deal on our terms is preferable to the alternative

• ‘But if they refuse, we have positioned things in such a way as there is shareholder, customer and internal support for implementation of change without agreement

• ‘In a series of negotiating sessions put all the elements of the deal on the table in the following order:

• ‘The operational “what’’ of change

• ‘The offer of developing a new approach to relationships conditional on the whole package

• ‘The benefits for individuals that derive from achieving the transformation. In the context of overhauling the pay framework

• ‘The consequences of non agreement

Tactics – dispute

• ‘If a yes vote in national ballot

‘ – Continue as now – patiently explaining inevitability of change to union and our people, focus on operational excellence, pursue re-engagement agenda

• ‘If a no vote in national ballot

‘ – As above, but union more likely to engage

• ‘If union call off/suspend strikes:

‘ – Scope for focussing on negotiations – aim to reach agreement or non agreement by December (timing to ensure no resumption of industrial action until January)

‘ – Introduce next year’s major change announcements – further mail centre reviews in context of talks

• ‘If union announce further local and/or national strikes

‘ – Work to minimise their impact – consider suspending some services to limit volume and backlogs which are unplanned and more damaging

‘ – Continue to deal with people in a robust but fair way – detail of this depends on strike tactics used

‘ – Realistically talks won’t make much progress as focus is elsewhere

‘ – Decision needed on whether to maintain current focus on dispute as reneging on existing change agreement or widen it by announcing next years change announcements to plan, pressing ahead with iLSM deployment etc

Key risks to our position

• ‘Prolonged dispute leads to sense of management’s inability to control situation

•‘Volume increases into Autumn coupled with continuing disruption mean backlogs build to compromise Christmas

• ‘Management fatigue/volunteer shortfall

• ‘Total ongoing London stoppage

• ‘Focus on keeping transformation on track and dealing firmly but fairly with dispute issues as they arise

• ‘Need to make keeping backlogs within manageable proportions the highest operational priority

• ‘Seek to avoid, unless we can confident that risk of pressure to settle before people drift back to work is not significant

Call to settle?

• ‘Previous postal disputes ended with a call to settle as public and political will evaporated

• ‘Settlements consisted of words around moving ahead with change, and a higher level/earlier payment of reward than previously planned. In 2006 change already implemented was wound back

• ‘Risk of this happening again is minimised by

‘ – Fostering shareholder and customer goodwill

‘ – Controlling disruption and delay to avoid it getting out of control

‘ – Maintaining high ground in dialogue

‘ – Remaining calm and professional whilst demonstrating determination to transform the company

‘ – The tight business and public finances – money not available to solve this dispute

• ‘But if it happens:

‘ – Discuss mediation? We should be comfortable with our position’