Reasons to Reject the Deal

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.

PENSIONS: SLASHED
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!

FLEXIBILITY: ACCEPTED
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”.

PAY: A REAL PAY CUT
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.

WHAT THE DEAL DOESN’T SAY:
• 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.

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