Royal Mail Strike: No Strike Agreement Reached?

Royal Mail Strike: No Strike Agreement Reached?

Both the Communication Workers Union and academic commentators agree that the recent agreement is a model of successful negotiations. Certainly an increase in pay, backdated to 1.4.2013, at around 3% is just above the Retail Price Index; and 3% is higher than a lot of other recent agreements.

But the real praise is for more nebulous agreements. They are called employee protections. The extensive list includes:

The employer will not outsource

The employer will not franchise parts of the business

The employer will not make employees self-employed

The union will meet employers monthly at “Growth Forum”.

The above list does not include a no-strike agreement. However, should the union call a national strike, the employer will withdraw the employee protections above. Thus we have a new style agreement, which both  allows a strike and allows a variety of management sanctions.

This agreement goes to the union members for validation in January 2014. Promised closer union management cooperation seems to be a return to the Corporatism of 40 or more years ago. Mediation by ACAS features strongly.

But will it work? Union leaders sitting on a growth forum is not the same as sitting on the Board of Directors. If at any time over the next 5 years union members vote for a national strike the whole agreement collapses. However, not franchising and not out sourcing will be attractive to members.

Finally,the language of zero hours contracts is not used, but implied in the above list. Why this unclarity?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s