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Consignia managers not happy

25 February 2002 - A survey of 600 senior managers by Amicus, the union for managers and professionals in Consignia, indicates that the Post Office lacks the skills, direction and leadership to cope with the challenges it faces. Consignia has an ongoing dispute in its Royal Mail division, financial pressures and the imminent introduction of competition.

The union feels that the survey provides fresh ammunition that competition proposals from the postal services regulator Postcomm would be disastrous for Britain's postal services if implemented and would probably lead to the end of the universal service with the same price throughout the country.

"The postal service as we know it faces meltdown if the current plan for competition is implemented too fast. Postcomm must revise its proposed competition model.

"Throwing Consignia in at the deep end will only result in the sharks picking off the choice morsels. The public at large will be left with an inferior service

"Change will only be positive if it is managed properly so that every person in Britain retains a quality postal service, said Amicus General Secretary Roger Lyons."

Some of the main results from the survey:

- 61% feel that Consignia is not capable of meeting the challenges it faces

- 85% believe that Consignia does not have the right leadership to meet the challenges it faces

- almost 70% believe that Consignia does not have the right direction to meet the challenges it faces

- 56% believe that Consignia does not have the right level of skills to meet the challenges it faces.

Background article

10 October 2001 - A three month truce was declared between Royal Mail and the CWU union offering industrial stability at Royal Mail until January 12. Business and union agree that the moratorium would improve customer service. Following two similar one-month deals when unofficial industrial action almost ceased, the agreement is that Royal Mail will not implement any unagreed changes in working practices at local level and the union will suspend any threats of industrial action.

Mick Linsell, Royal Mail's Managing Director for Service Delivery, said: "Royal Mail is very pleased at this latest positive development in industrial relations. It will benefit both customers and employees. The agreements demonstrates the strong commitment in the business and the union to make Royal Mail a better place in which to work while boosting customer service."

John Keggie, the CWU's deputy general secretary who is responsible for the postal membership of the union, said: "The agreement is an important step forward towards achieving lasting improvements in industrial relations in Royal Mail.

"CWU members want to play a full role in creating a long and lasting period of industrial stablility. The key to achieving that goal is to make the business a better place in which to work, and for the union and its members to be treated as full partners in decision-making at all levels, which is a must in today's changing commercial environment."

Mr Linsell added: "The 'moratorium' agreements we have already agreed showed the benefit of greater dialogue at local level between Royal Mail managers and CWU reps. Of course, Royal Mail still needs to achieve major improvements in productivity and introduce more customer-focused changes in working practices. This three-month extension to the previous agreements show a commitment to discuss change against a background of stability, where the customers' needs are uppermost."

Mr Keggie said: "The CWU is urgently pressing for details on last week's announcement by Consignia on 15% cost savings. But despite the CWU's deep concerns over this issue, today's agreement shows the union's constructive approach to discussing change amid a stable industrial environment."

This agreement comes as the CWU, Royal Mail and the CMA (the management association) continue to discuss recommendations in the report on industrial relations by Lord Sawyer, published in July. One of the report's main recommendations is a lengthy strike-free period in Royal Mail.

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