Done & dusted at last’ – Royal Mail PFSL deal approved in ballotRoyal Mail Group (EMP) March 16 2023
Pictured above: Eleanor Hipson, CWU national cleaners’ rep for PFSL
Rises to basic pay, lump sums, new incentive schemes and a range of terms & conditions levelled up for Property & Facilities Solutions Limited (PFSL) workers, as negotiated agreement wins an 87% YES…
“Our members will be glad it’s all done and dusted at last,” said CWU national cleaners’ rep Eleanor Hipson, when she spoke with CWU News just after today’s result was announced. “It means that our members will get the money due to them this month and then we can push forward on improving their pensions and achieving these new incentive payments.”
PFSL’s workforce of cleaners, engineers and admin staff – who keep Royal Mail’s circa 1,400 workplaces clean, safe and hygienic – have their pay, terms and conditions negotiated separately from the rest of the company’s employees, although they have also been in dispute over the past year and have taken part in industrial action alongside their postal colleagues on several occasions.
Good deal on cleaners’ pay & bonus
The agreement, which will now come into effect, includes bringing forward the Real Living Wage Foundation (RLWF) rates with effect from 1st February 2023 – two months earlier – and raising hourly rates from £9.90 to £10.90 – a 10.1 per cent increase – outside of London and from £11.05 to £11.95 within London. There are also non-consolidated ‘bridge’ payments over the period of the pay deal, which will apply to London staff. The reason for the lump-sum bridge payments is to recognise and compensate those members who either did not get an increase or who do not receive the same level of increase as other cleaners from April 2023.
As outlined above, the pay differential for relief cleaners is re-introduced, raising their hourly rates to £10.75 (national) and £11.90 (London) and backdated to 1st April 2022.
“The union did well to get the initial offers upped and this deal is fine,” said Eleanor, adding that there is also an incentive scheme for cleaners, which provides the opportunity for an extra pay-out worth 2 per cent of base pay.
Commenting on this, Eleanor said: “It’s a scheme linked to recycling and it’s our view that the target payments cited here are achievable and, if so, then there’ll be 1 per cent of salary paid out in November of this year and another 1 per cent next June.
“It’s coming in for this first year only initially, after which, we’re expecting to sit down and review how the scheme’s gone and talk further about where we go from there,” she added.
Significant steps forward on Ts&Cs across PFSL
All employees will now have the opportunity to improve their occupational pension provision – both in terms of the value of their contributions and increased employer contributions – while maternity and paternity leave arrangements will now align with those across Royal Mail Group as a whole. Agreement has also been reached by negotiators – subject to a separate endorsement ballot – to harmonise average pay while on leave with RMG.
“The pensions improvements will be good for our members and they’ve also got a death-in-service benefit now which a lot of them didn’t have before,” said Eleanor, while PFSL engineers’ reps, Ged Garside and Kevin Glibert highlighted the choice workers have now to move from the NEST scheme into a Legal & General plan.
‘No strings’ pay rise for engineers & ‘pay plus cash’ for admins
“Our negotiators did a great job getting us this deal,” said Ged Garside, who represents Northern Area engineers. He added that, in the current industrial relations climate, this was a better pay agreement than had been expected, while his Southern Area counterpart Kevin Gilbert welcomed the removal of previously attached ‘strings’ to the wage increase.
Under the agreement, pay rates for PFSL’s engineers increase by 7 per cent – backdated to 1st October 2022 – and then a further 4 per cent from 1st April 2023, while admin workers will see their pay rise by 5 per cent – backdated to 1st April 2022 – and another 3 per cent effective from 1st April 2023, plus a one-off £250(pro rata for part-time employees) cash pay-out.
An engineers’ incentive scheme is, Kevin said: “yet to be negotiated,” while the operational change proposals from management – the ‘strings’ that had initially been attached to engineers’ pay – are now to be negotiated separately.
CWU negotiating officers thank members & reps
Assistant secretary Carl Maden said: “This is a great agreement for our members in RMPFSL. I want to thank all of our reps and members for their support and patience in what has been a difficult dispute and negotiation.
“It’s also important for us to level up the terms and conditions for annual leave, maternity, paternity, adoptive and shared parental leave and we’ve also achieved a Holiday Pay Agreement, which will be placed before the Postal Executive in due course – a further benefit for our members in PFSL.”
And acting assistant secretary Mick Kavanagh said: “It’s a great result and we appreciate members’ patience and their support. Today’s result shows that this deal was the best that could be achieved in the circumstances,” said Mick. “These negotiations were long and at times very difficult, but it’s our view that there have been some significant moves in the right direction and it’s good that our hard-working members will get money in their pockets this month.”
“Now we need to make sure we get this implemented as soon as possible and keep up with our work to further improve things for our PFSL members.”
For further details on the pay deal, including answers to some questions, please see here