Socialist Worker

Post Workers

Issue No. 1882

DETAILS OF the national pay and conditions deal between Royal Mail and the CWU union were emerging as Socialist Worker went to press.

Based on what activists have been told, the essential elements are:

  • A basic pay deal is a 4.5 percent rise over 18 months. This is the same as was offered earlier this year. But the trigger-points, which allow workers to gain productivity bonuses of up to £26.28 a week, have been reduced by 30 percent. This will make it much easier for workers to get the money. In addition, the union will be centrally involved in talks over the local implementation of changes rather than managers dictating. Royal Mail has accepted the principle of national pay bargaining.

  • London weighting will rise by £300 this year and £300 in April 2005. That means inner London workers will hit their target of £4,000 in 16 months time.

  • RRIS payments (money for areas of high living costs and where the employer finds it hard to recruit) will be extended to new areas.

  • No immediate changes to the industrial relations framework or union reps' rights. The changes to the deal since Royal Mail first tried to impose it are a result of the recent strikes led by the rank and file.

    The offer would have been much worse if it had not been for the walkout at Oxford in September, the London weighting strikes and, above all, the mass walkouts in October and November.

    The courage and organisation of the rank and file, not clever negotiation, has made management move away from its aggressive rhetoric of 'the world has changed' after the pay ballot went down in September.

    However, the deal still contains bad elements, especially the thousands of job losses which will result. If Socialist Worker's calculations are right, up to 7,000 jobs will go in deliveries alone. This is less than the 12,500 planned in June (which union national officials were ready to accept). But it is still a heavy blow and will mean speed-ups and a worse service.

    The union's national negotiators gave away more than they had to. The deal will now go out to national ballot. When all the details are known postal workers will have to weigh up if this is good enough.

    The new deal puts great emphasis on local negotiation. It is urgent to strengthen rank and file organisation. The stronger the local organisation, the easier it will be to stop job losses and demands for harder working.

    If enough offices do this then Royal Mail will find it tough to implement the worst aspects of the deal.

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    Article information

    Sat 20 Dec 2003, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1882
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