Dave Ward appeals directly to Royal Mail shareholders

Mail, Royal Mail Group (EMP)

CWU leaders made their case directly to Royal Mail’s investors yesterday, urging them to question the company’s strategy and push for a resolution to the ongoing dispute…

In a webinar hosted by Tom Baudrell, Head of Oversight at corporate governance consulting firm PIRC (pension advisors and investment research)Business people heard a detailed summary of the issues at stake and why the union had to take action.

Our Secretary Dave Ward and Acting Deputy General Secretary for the Post Andy Frye presented the case for the union, supported by Head of Research Bill Taylor, who presented series of slides With situation facts and figures. It reminded the public of the record £758m profits Royal Mail Group announced last year, the fact that even with the international division GLS removed from the equation, Royal Mail UK still made £416m, and that last May the company had projected that Profits will drop slightly in 2022/23 but are still at £303m.

But earnings expectations eased in October to a projected loss of between £350m and £450m – a sharp drop that followed the donation of £567m in dividends and share buybacks during the 2021/22 financial year. The slides also highlighted the high levels of gross pay received by Royal Mail’s chief executive and chief financial officer – £753,000 and £1.3m respectively. These totals included bonus payments of £142,000 (to the CEO) and £847,000 (to the Chief Financial Officer), although there were no significant service quality targets.

The presentation set the scene for the conversation that will follow, as our Secretary General expanded on the main points raised. On the change side of the dispute, he explained that the company had provoked that by moving away from The path of change – A national agreement, signed in March 2021 by DGSP Terry Pullinger on behalf of the federation and CEO Simon Thompson for Royal Mail.

“But the CEO who signed this agreement has walked away from it,” Dave said, adding that walking away from The path of change The agreement showed a “lack of integrity”.

The Federation has recognized – and has always recognized, as our Secretary General said, that this industry cannot face change. “And the workforce understands this too – CWU has often been at the forefront of pushing to develop new products and services and we advocate change and modernization. But what the company’s leadership is asking for lately is not modernization. for the company.”

Dave explained that this is a major point of difference between the CWU and the company’s leadership, saying: “Where we see infrastructure as having Royal Mail a competitive advantage that needs to be used to increase revenue, increase shareholder value and build success for Royal Mail – they see that as a flaw.”

Subsequently proposed start-ups for delivery workers were a prime example of a “reduce infrastructure” perspective, which could mean, as he put it, “abandoning the delivery period.” Once Royal Mail sheds what is currently its ‘sweet spot’, competitors will move into that slot. The messages will not go away.

While the union opposes abandoning the early morning shift, and the message market, it fully supports the development of afternoon shifts, the “one-package network” concept, working on Sundays, and operating “24/7” in principle. . But, our Secretary General continued, the company’s current plans to bring in a new lower paying workforce, worse terms and conditions, and increase driver owner and agency resources, are strongly opposed and will not be agreed upon.

Again, it was made clear that the agreement was already in place The path of change – With its nine sub-sections covering each business function and outlining how change is discussed, decided upon, implemented, disseminated, reviewed and improved – provided a clear way forward through all of this and, again, noted based on this, what the company should have to withdraw from this Agreement. It was the company leadership’s decision to back out of that agreement that triggered the “change” aspects of this dispute – not the change itself.

On wages, Dave pointed out that the company’s claim that it had offered a 9 per cent raise was not quite what it was presented as being – and reiterated the union’s position that, if a real, direct 9 per cent pay offer was put forward by the company, this would be returned to Membership for approval.

Then Tom Baudrell sent questions from the online audience – which ranged from whether the company was unwise in its financial decisions last summer, to the cross-economic impact of the current dispute, and the way Royal Mail’s leaders are engaging with and with the union. Workforce, has an error of judgment been made, and is there now a question mark about the company’s leadership?

Dave Ward thanked people for coming to the webinar and for their many and varied points and he and Andy Fury responded to each. Dave suggested that last year’s share increase of one VC group – and the growing speculation around this – may have affected the company’s financial decision-making, and that the Royal Mail dispute was so important in macroeconomic terms, that rival companies were, to a certain extent, gradually starting to fill the gap. with Royal Mail on staff wages and that “we want to see wages and terms and conditions across the sector”.

On questions about involvement, our Secretary said the CWU believes the company’s top managers “take advice from union busters” and “that they don’t see their workforce as an asset.” He added, “We urge investors to ask the company questions in this regard.”

A shareholder asked directly: “What do you think we can do? What do you want us to do that could help find a solution?” Dave thanked him for the question and replied, “We want you to raise your concerns, and do everything you can to get the company to come to a settlement.” .

He emphasized that the settlement reached should be in line with the interests of the workers, the company and the clients.

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