Confrontation in Royal Mail is virtually guaranteed as the public sector pay curbs dictated by the government are combining with bosses’ determination to cut costs in order to compete against TNT and other private mail operators.
Across the public sector chancellor Gordon Brown has told workers they will get only a 2 percent rise. Postal workers are facing even worse.
As Socialist Worker went to press the pay offer remained “closed” – a secret between bosses and union leaders. Details were expected to be released this week, but there are already plenty of indications about what Royal Mail want.
According to leaks seen by Socialist Worker, there will be no (or a very low) basic pay rise. In order to get a lump sum of a few hundred pounds,
workers will have to assist in plans to save around £350 million in operating costs.
Over 20 conditions must be met to reach this 90-day business plan target, including:
- The removal of night shifts in delivery offices
- Monthly pay
- Clear post boxes a maximum of twice daily
- Work on first class only on Sundays and bank holidays
- No “inefficient” offices to sort second class
- No indoor overtime
- Cease payment for the delivery of election material
- Remove payment for door to door (unaddressed mail)
- Change the attendance procedure to make it easier to discipline or sack workers
- Introducing part-timers when full-time jobs fall vacant
Bosses also want the pension age to rise to 65.
Royal Mail has told CWU union officials that it is going to implement savings whether the union likes it or not.
Meanwhile the Daily Express reports that up to 50,000 postal workers could lose their jobs in the biggest cuts in the history of the Royal Mail.
Almost a third of staff in the letters division could be hit, on top of 35,000 jobs which have gone through redundancies over the past five years.
This is a very big challenge to the CWU. Socialist Worker believes that the London region has already applied for a strike ballot over the unagreed imposition of “efficiency savings”. These include ignoring the MTSF redundancy agreement.
It is quite conceivable that, with Royal Mail seeking to make savings from this month in order to meet its annual target, that it could simply impose them at some offices, leading to spontaneous walkouts.
If the cuts package is confirmed, the CWU must start the strike ballot process. Only national action can deal with this scale of national attacks.
BT pay offer
BT this week tabled a new pay offer of 4.2 percent on basic pay for this year, flowing through to pay related allowances, with effect from 1 April, and a guaranteed increase in basic pay next year of no less than inflation (RPI).
The CWU negotiating team rejected this offer on the grounds that 4.2 percent for 2007 still represents a cut in pay in real terms and the offer of inflation for 2008 is also inadequate.
UPDATE 11 APRIL
BT Pay: Final Offer – Recommended for acceptance
BT has tabled a final offer comprising a 4.7 percent increase in base pay and pay related allowances with effect from 1st April 2007 and RPI (inflation) + 0.5% on base pay and pay related allowances with effect from 1st April 2008.
The 2008 increase will be based on the March RPI published in April.
London Weighting will also increase with effect from 1st April 2007 and 1st April 2008 by 75% of the increases quoted.
The CWU Telecoms Executive has met and considered the offer from BT and has agreed to recommend it to members for acceptance in a consultative ballot.
The Executive has agreed to recommend it because:
• Both years' increases represent a significant increase in your pay
• The two year aspect gives you security in knowing that your pay is settled and will be 0.5 percent above inflation next year
• There is no element of individual performance related pay or unconsolidated payment in the offer for either year