REJECT CWU SELL-OUT – call angry CWU members

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The picket line at East London Mail Centre during this month’s unofficial strike over Royal Mail’s imposition of new starting times
The picket line at East London Mail Centre during this month’s unofficial strike over Royal Mail’s imposition of new starting times

THE CWU (Communications Workers Union) yesterday accepted the Royal Mail offer on pay along with plans to modernise the company and reform the pension scheme.

This came after the CWU Postal Executive Committee ratified by nine votes to five the deal agreed by the CWU general secretary Billy Hayes and deputy general secretary (postal) Dave Ward on 13 October.

Royal Mail said yesterday: ‘The CWU’s acceptance of the proposal means that Royal Mail can now go ahead with essential plans to modernise the business and make it more flexible, efficient and able to compete properly in the marketplace.

Royal Mail Chief Executive Adam Crozier acknowledged ‘the role played by Brendan Barber and the TUC and to thank them for helping to bring these talks to a sensible conclusion’.

Royal Mail said: ‘The key points agreed today are:

‘An increase of 5.4 per cent on basic pay and weekday overtime from 1 October (equivalent to a cost of 2.5 per cent in the financial year from April 2007 to March 2008).

‘A one-off lump sum of £175, from an existing employee “share of savings” scheme and so at no extra cost to Royal Mail.

‘The flexibility we need to modernise our operations so that we can compete effectively against rivals who have already modernised and so have lower costs and prices than Royal Mail.

‘For example this includes:

‘Full cooperation and support on the deployment of new technology.

‘Ensuring all our peoples’ paid work hours are utilised.

‘Covering for one another within a unit – and within paid hours – to help absorb colleagues’ absence or an increase in workload.

‘Rebalancing the normal working pattern to reflect the traffic profile (such as higher or lower levels of mail on certain days of the week).

‘The union’s support for the company’s overall proposed pension reform.

‘Royal Mail’s proposals include:

‘Closing the final salary scheme to new members from 31 January 2008 and replacing it with a Defined Contribution scheme.

‘Protecting our existing employees’ pension pots built up before 1 April 2008, including keeping the link to final salary.

‘Introducing a Career Average Defined Benefit scheme for our existing employees from 1 April 2008.

‘Moving the normal retirement age from 60 to 65 from 1 April 2010.

‘Existing members will be able to take the pension built up prior to April 2010 at age 60 or at any time after that paid in line with current scheme rules. Pension built up after April 2010 will be paid on an actuarially reduced basis if taken before 65 or unreduced if taken at 65.

‘An increase of 1.5 per cent in basic pay from April next year, paid on delivery of the agreed reforms.’

The CWU will shortly ballot its members on the agreement.

‘Postal workers must throw out this sell-out deal’, Rob Bolton, Chairman HP Section, CWU South Central No 1 branch said yesterday.

He said: ‘In my opinion the CWU leadership caved in before the fight had really began.

‘We must reject the deal and replace this leadership of Hayes and Ward, with a leadership that will carry the struggle forward.

‘This leadership has negotiated away our hard won terms and conditions, it is time for it to go.’

CWU Eastern No 6 branch secretary Paul Olden added: ‘Our HQ is in for a rude awakening.

‘If the deal is no better than what we came on strike against, I won’t be recommending it to our branch.

‘We will need a new leadership within the union.

‘Under such a deal HQ might as well pack up and go home, Royal Mail will just push things through by executive action.’