24 Nov 2007

Reject the Deal

This is basic green politics, not just an issue for those who are green left, the post office is being dismembered essentially privatised....competition means post office closures, more carbon miles for a worse service.

Its a consumer issue already one delivery a day, no sunday service....modern capitalist economy making the service thin so the fat cats can become fatter.

Here is the material on a no vote from the posties...so if you are a Green Party postie....two 'no' votes for you this week!...its pretty shite for pay and conditions...

here is some stuff from CWU rank and filers...on the standard reasons for rejection of the ballot from a trade union grassroots perspective....unity amongst the awkward squad!

site here

“There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the Deal” - Dave Warren interview
Posted on November 1, 2007 by cwurankandfile

“There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the Deal”
Interview with Dave Warren, PEC member of the CWU

CWU – Royal mail “deal”: The CWU Executive voted by 9-5 to recommend acceptance of the deal with Royal Mail. As well as the five votes against, including the union President Jane Loftus, three National Officers (those responsible for mail centres, delivery and logistics) also refused to endorse it. SOLIDARITY interviewed Dave Warren, one of the five, who is calling for a broad based No campaign and for the members to reject the deal.

A capitulation to management’s agenda

Why did you vote against the deal?

I voted against the deal because it is a capitulation to management’s agenda. They have got the majority of what they wanted in exchange for a meagre increase in pay. The union has conceded the employers’ position almost completely on flexibility. Local reps are going to be forced into agreeing “efficiency deals” with managers – that will mean the same amount of work being done in fewer hours as well as the loss of jobs.

The trials of new working practices are to be linked to pay. So if the changes are not implemented, 1.5 percent of the agreed pay rise will not be paid. In addition there could be scheduling of long and short days. Workers will have to work shorter hours on days when it suits the company, and longer hours when mail volumes are higher – something up to now the union has always opposed. Management will be able to vary the day by 30 minutes. They will be able to extend workers’ shifts when it suits them.

The aim of these changes is to get everyone to work harder, and to cut overtime payments.

So far as the pension is concerned, after 2010, you will only be able to retire on full benefits at age 65. For manual workers who do a physically demanding job this is a big issue.

Changing our pension scheme from a final salary scheme to one that is based on career average earnings will almost certainly have the effect of reducing benefits for many.

The wage increase quoted as 6.9% over 18 months is just not true. The real figure is 5.4% over 2 years – well below inflation. We have also lost our ESOS (efficiency) bonus scheme, and many opportunities to earn overtime.

Embracing liberalisation

The framework of the agreement seems to be acceptance of the management’s agenda for ‘winning in the market place’.

Yes, the Leaders of our union have decided to embrace liberalisation and agree the company’s agenda rather than fighting it.

What do you think will be the consequences for the members of the CWU if the deal is voted through?

Well, it won’t be the end, but it will be the beginning of the end for the union as an independent force. Reps will be forced to implement the management’s agenda, and many will resign rather than do so. We already have a shortage of reps in many areas.

Management want a tame house union, like the old EEPTU (Electrical Union), whose job is to discipline the workforce in line with the management’s aims.

The idea that management will be nice to us if we sign an agreement is ridiculous. We have just recently had a lot of requests for local industrial action where management is simply trying to impose changes.

Our members have been magnificent and have been absolutely solid throughout the strikes. We cannot let them down now. There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the deal. The key is fighting to get the branches to recommend rejection.


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Reasons to Reject the Deal
Posted on October 31, 2007 by cwurankandfile

The truth behind the spin:

The CWU National Executive is arguing that the agreement with Royal Mail is the best on offer and a success. CWU members will be balloted on the deal. However this agreement does not reflect what we could have won, given the successful strikes. Worse, it gives Royal Mail nearly everything they wanted. That is why we believe that branches should recommend this dodgy deal is rejected, and all members should vote against it.

The CWU spin says that pensions are “decoupled” from the agreement, to be dealt with separately. In reality they have already agreed that we should work till 65 and close the final salary scheme. This will lose members thousands of pounds!

The deal accepts nearly every flexibility demand or agrees to trial it - a recipe for agreeing the rest piecemeal. We will be forced to bend over backwards, while Royal Mail managers make demands that we can’t say “no” to. With little scope for overtime, many will lose more money than the pay “rise”.

Before anyone gets excited, we aren’t getting a 6.9% pay rise! We will only get a pay rise next year if we accept all flexibility demands and trials. The 5.4% for this year is not backdated and so worth half of that! Given inflation, the offer is really a pay cut.

• 40,000 jobs still to go through flexibility, productivity and mail centre closures which still lie in the future

• offices that were fighting local cuts abandoned

• CWU policy of the 35 hour week for mechanisation dropped

• colleague shares accepted though they were previously opposed as a step towards privatisation
…and worst of all, nothing about reinstating all those members and reps who have been victimised for their brave support of the strike, leaving them out in the cold - Shame!

The SMALL PRINT they don’t want you to read:

PENSIONS: The CWU official literature says that the pension issue has been “decoupled” from the deal, we will be given a separate ballot “following the conclusion of the legal consultation process”. But a joint Royal Mail and CWU statement (October 24 LTB) says Royal Mail wants to close the final salary pension scheme from 1 April 2008 with retirement age to be increased to 65 from 1 April 2010. It goes on to state “the union supports these proposals”! But this gives Royal Mail almost everything they wanted and gives our rights away for nothing in return.

FLEXIBILITY: The CWU official spin (October 22 LTB) is that it is a victory that the union is “involved” in negotiations, but the problem is they have negotiated it all away and left offices to deal with the detail locally, where many without reps or a strong union will be too weak to resist. Here is a list of your work rights that they want you to vote away (you’d better sit down!):

Longs and shorts, working longer hours on heavier days when before we would have been paid overtime: ACCEPTED

Later starts: ACCEPTED

Moving off your duty to another job or office at a manager’s request:: ACCEPTED

Summer savings: ACCEPTED

Swings and Roundabouts where you owe the business half an hour if you finish early, and are forced to work an extra half hour later for free when the manager requests it: ACCEPTED

The CWU states that day to day flexibility is “not in any shape or form compulsory”. However the actual agreement states “nor is it about anyone refusing reasonable requests.” Who will decide what is a reasonable request? Your manager will!

Remaining issues like Annualised hours and Covering each other when someone goes off sick are to be settled by separate negotiations in 2008. This will just see more rights given away, judging by what the union has swallowed so far.

PAY: This is a step backward when we are supposed to be fighting for an above-inflation pay rise, where inflation is 4%. We have “won” a 2.7% increase for this year (the original offer was 2.5%) with most of the original strings attached. The £175 lump sum to top this up is from the ESOS bonus scheme and is not new money! Next year at best would see a 1.5% “rise” (once again below likely inflation), but we only get this if we achieve 100% flexibility locally, otherwise we get nothing in 2008-9!. Lastly, the union states that they will negotiate with Royal Mail on how to “implement” monthly pay - does this mean they have accepted that too?

DOOR TO DOOR, REDUNDANCY TERMS and more are all up for separate negotiations next year. Given the concessions so far on everything else, we could see more rights slashed and a hike in door to door without any extra pay. We should not separate out these issues, we will win the most from Royal Mail when the threat of a strike hangs over them. To leave these issues for later means giving more away.


Anonymous said...

Typical old-school socialist whining. If you look at what Royal Mail workers can earn and compare it it work of similar skill level elsewhere the pay and benefits are massively out of step.

The postal strikes, in addition to various wildkat unofficial localised actions, turned people agains the Royal Mail and even many left-leanring people who relied on a postal service and had similar or less earning power to a low-skilled postal worker declared 'sack the lot of them'.

One friend with a small kicthen table business selling organic products was badly affected by the postal strike with items going missing and customer just not bothering to order as so much was going missing in the post and items were stupidly late.

Not everyone luxuriates in an academic sinecure or heavily-unionised public sector job with pay and benefits far beyond the norm and have to scrape by in the real world, their taxes raised by the state and their purchasing power ever lowered by monetary inflation while receiving CPI pay rises if anything.

I favour, as has been suggested by some, that the Royal Mail has some form of co-operative ownership by the workers. That way they'd have an incentive to provide a good service and create a healthy company rather than just destroy the service through strikes and alienate their customers.

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