- 18 March 2020
- Transport / Logistics Services
The Communications Workers Union has appealed for Royal Mail to become the ‘4th emergency service’ in the UK amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Royal Mail members of the CWU voted by 94.5% in favour of industrial action but collectively want to support the community.
The Union said that since voting began two weeks ago, COVID-19 was “changing the language of priorities for our members and the country.”
A union statement said: “In recognition of the fact that Royal Mail Group is the only service that connects every address in this country via its universal service — something our dispute is seeking to protect — we have made a proposal to the company based on putting the interests of the nation first.
“We want the public we serve, the government and shareholders to know that we want to set aside our differences with Royal Mail and, subject to prioritising the health and safety of our members, we want postal workers to become an additional emergency service in the UK.
“We believe this could really help the country in these unprecedented times.”
“Postal workers are embedded in every community in the UK. They are trusted figures. They are part of the social fabric of society.
“It’s time to utilise the companies’ unrivalled infrastructure and daily reach across every city, town, village and rural community, remembering that for a lot of people the only person they will see every day will be their local postal worker.
“With this in mind we have called for Royal Mail Group to step back from their attacks in the workplace, imposing unagreed changes and destroying the very morale and vocational sense of purpose the nation now needs, and work with the union to enact our proposal.”
The union said that postal workers would “become an additional emergency service” during the pandemic.
“Postal workers can play a crucial role in keeping everyone in this country connected and informed, delivering medical aid, checking on the elderly and vulnerable, delivering local mail to local services and supporting people working from home.”
The union said that postal workers could assist with foodbank collections and deliver food parcels to people in need.
It said: “In any national emergency in our history and in our day-to-day existence, the universal postal service has played a vital role.
“These unprecedented events remind us all that postal workers always come through and will stand ready to serve the nation again, but Royal Mail Group must play their part by agreeing our proposal and ensuring the very best standards of safety and support to its employees.”
The union has sent its proposal to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and plans to meet with management tomorrow.
Shane O’Riordain, Managing Director of Regulation, Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Royal Mail, said: We welcome and appreciate CWU’s statement this afternoon that now is not the time to take industrial action. We contacted CWU last week to work together to protect our people, our country and our company. We are talking to them about how we can do that together.
“The postal service is a key part of the UK’s infrastructure at this time. We are delivering, as usual, to communities across the country. The delivery of parcels and letters is a key way of keeping the country together and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes.
“As the coronavirus crisis has developed, we have worked with CWU to formulate and implement the appropriate sick pay and absence policy for our colleagues. We jointly agreed the policy and communicated it to our colleagues last week. Colleagues, including those with less than one year’s service, will receive full pay in relation to any coronavirus illness or self-isolation. We have made adjustments to our parcel handling procedures to protect our colleagues and our customers.
“We are ready to discuss CWU’s proposals for future strategic business opportunities. Our negotiating team is ready to continue the dialogue to agree a framework to try to find a resolution to the current dispute. We are meeting soon. We want to reach agreement. “