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POSTAL WORKERS are set for a 5 per cent pay rise as part of a deal to end the industrial dispute at Royal Mail, their union announced yesterday.
The proposal will also see a cut in the working week and a new pension scheme to guarantee a “wage in retirement.”
Yesterday, the Communication Workers’ Union’s postal executive agreed to recommend that members endorse the settlement in a forthcoming ballot.
If it is accepted, the 5 per cent rise in pay and allowances will be backdated to last October. From October 2018, the working week will be reduced by one hour, with no loss of pay, and by a further hour a year later. Royal Mail and CWU have also agreed to work towards a “shared vision” of achieving a 35-hour week by 2022.
Last autumn, postal workers overwhelmingly voted for strike action over a raft of grievances. The central issue was the company’s proposal to close the defined benefit pension scheme and replace it with a “cash-out” programme based on contributions and the stock market.
Now the parties have agreed to pioneer a “collective defined contribution” scheme, combining an income-based retirement wage with a lump sum.
CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said: “This agreement represents the successful outcome of months of talks and is testament to the strength of membership support reflected in the union’s huge vote for strike action in October last year.”
In return for the improvements, the union has agreed to work with Royal Mail to make the business more efficient, which will involve changing some working practices. But a CWU spokesman said the “vast majority” of members would see no change to their current shift finishing times.
There will be no further pay rise this year, but a 2 per cent increase will be implemented in April 2019.
The settlement also represents a significant improvement in industrial relations between the parties, following a low point last year. After the union called strikes in the run-up to Christmas, bosses secured an injunction enforcing a mediation process.
When the reduction in hours is taken into account, the three-year agreement is estimated to be worth 12.3 per cent.
Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: “This is an affordable and sustainable solution that enables us to continue to innovate and grow and to meet the intense competition with confidence.”
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