Socialist Worker

Don’t accept a deal for worse pensions and pay in Royal Mail

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2589

The strike vote scared bosses

The strike vote scared bosses (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Postal workers’ union leaders and Royal Mail bosses have reached an agreement to end a major dispute and are calling on workers to back it.

In a joint statement released on Friday of last week Royal Mail and the CWU union said they had “finalised” a proposed agreement over pensions, pay and conditions.

If CWU members back the deal it would end a dispute that last year saw workers vote by almost 90 percent for national strikes.

Updates on talks since the strike vote suggest that bosses made concessions, including on shift patterns and a shorter working week.

They have also dropped plans to impose a “defined contribution” (DC) pension scheme on all Royal Mail workers. This would have left workers’ pensions at the mercy of the stock market, with thousands worse off.

Now bosses and union leaders want a “collective defined contribution”—or defined ambition—scheme.

This could be an improvement for workers already on the DC scheme as it guarantees a set wage in retirement. It also means all Royal Mail workers would be on a single scheme—one of the CWU’s key demands.

Depends 

But the amount paid out still depends on the pension’s stock market value when workers retire. That means workers currently on a defined benefit pension scheme—anyone who began work for Royal Mail before 2008—will lose out.

Full details of the agreement—including the pay offer—had not been released as Socialist Worker went to press. It will have to be voted on by CWU members and approved by the Royal Mail board.

The deal was set to be presented to the CWU’s postal executive committee this week before being circulated to union branches and reps.

Union leaders shouldn’t agree to any pension deal that harms tens of thousands of their members while bosses still award themselves huge salaries and dividends.

And they shouldn’t accept any pay deal if it’s below inflation, currently over 4 percent on the RPI measure.

CWU members should be ready to reject any inadequate agreement—and strike for a better deal for all workers.


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