National Four Pillars & Pay Agreement briefing

Around 600 senior CWU lay officials gathered in central London for the union’s national Four Pillars & Pay Agreement briefing this morning.
Divisional, area and branch representatives came from all parts of the UK to hear a detailed presentation of the negotiators’ deal reached between the union and the company.
Opening the event, general secretary Dave Ward said that the package was “undoubtedly a good deal for our members” and he warmly praised the efforts of deputy general secretary postal (DGSP) Terry Pullinger and his team of senior national officers, as well as the CWU’S “army of reps.”
“That deal, and the concessions that have been forced out of Royal Mail, are entirely due to the support from members in the industrial action ballot,” he said, adding that the union’s communications strategy had also been extremely effective.
Dave went on to outline some of the union’s future plans in both the wider industrial and political arenas, with particular emphasis on our New Deal for Workers campaign. And the need to bud for the forthcoming national TUC demonstration scheduled for May.
Terry Pullinger spoke next and he began by taking the audience back almost two years, reminding the assembled activists of the national briefing in March 2016, when our Four Pillars campaign was born.
“We set out our vision and we set our agenda,” he recalled and drew comparisons between the company’s initial position at that time and the extremely significant progress on all four of the Pillars of Security that represented the CWU’s negotiating programme.
“We turned Royal Mail around and everyone should be very proud of what has been achieved,” he explained, adding: “Back then, we were at a crossroads and we’re taking this industry down a different road, a positive road.”
Pointing to the huge support that members gave to the union in the industrial action ballot last autumn, Terry said: “We shocked them. The company and the media as well,” adding that this achievement was even more impressive in the context of the new anti-union laws.
The pay and shorter working week elements of the deal were some way ahead of what is being achieved elsewhere in other sectors, he continued and advised the audience that, if any of their members said that this part of the dealĀ  not enough, then “tell them to go and ask a nurse.
“And tell your members how much has been achieved, because it’s absolutely massive.”
Terry then led a detailed session on the proposed new pension arrangements followed, during which the briefing also heard from Royal Mail’s chief of staff Mick Jeavons and head of public affairs Jenny Hall and a video presentation from Hillary Salt, from First Actuarial, who has been working with us on this.
A lengthy ‘Q&As’ session followed the speeches, reflecting the importance of this issue.
And the briefing concluded with presentations from our indoor and outdoor secretaries Davies Robertson and Mark Baulch, which focused on the operational and pipeline improvements contained within the Four Pillars agreement.
* In the next few weeks, Terry and his senior team of national officers will be holding a series of unit rep briefings at locations in every part of the UK.