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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 08:44 AM
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The Future of Work
With Christmas approaching, the Royal Mail is taking on 18,000 temporary staff to help cover the extra work. This happens every year. This year, though, all job enquires are being directed to a company called Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Mail. It doesnt just handle temporary staff over Christmas. There appears to be no way to get a job as a postal worker these days except by going through Angard.

The normal contract is for 38 weeks (less for the temporary Christmas workers). Staff are employed by Angard but seconded to the Royal Mail. They are required to do any work that their Royal Mail manager requests, though they are officially supervised by an Angard manager. They are not guaranteed any regular hours, and have no fixed place of work (though they will not be required to work outside the UK). They will not be paid for hours they do not work. For this they will be paid the minimum wage: 6.08 an hour (4.98 if youre under 21).

In other words, they will do exactly the same job as a Royal Mail employee, but for 2.78 an hour less. They could be sitting around waiting for a telephone call for days on end, to get only a few hours work a week. They can be moved from site to site and job to job at will. If they turn a job down, for any reason, they can be dismissed. Night workers are paid 50p extra an hour.
All other agency workers have had their contracts cancelled and replaced by Angard contracts. In many cases workers have had to wait weeks to be paid. One Angard worker told me it took over a month for him to get his first pay cheque. He said that the management are virtually impossible to get hold of and that if you ask them a question they fob you off. On several occasions he was given shifts which were cancelled when he turned up for work. The excuse? They were double-booked. /

They deny it, but it does look as though the purpose of the subsidiary is to minimise workers' rights. And those terms look truly awful: minimum wage, only for hours worked, and they may tell you to go away after you've turned up if they screw up, while reserving the right to sack you if you don't turn up whenever told to (so you can't combine it with any other job).
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 09:28 AM
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1. Good to see the vaunted flexible labour market in action.
When one side of the bargaining table holds all the cards the outcome isn't likely to be equitable.
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 04:22 PM
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2. Looks like they are deliberately trying to bypass the CWU
The CWU has huge power within Royal Mail and as such the management are going to try and find arrangements that bypass the union. Industrial relations in Royal Mail are poisonous at the best of times.

Royal Mail have been using agency staff for some time. Not only are they paid less but the "uniform" staff in Royal Mail tend to treat them as 2nd class citizens in my experience.

It's no surprise if Royal Mail are centralizing their agency recruitment and in doing so, trying to put as many barriers up to joining the CWU as possible. When I worked at Royal Mail the CWU were effectively running a closed shop. Sadly the management are now going over the top with recruitment agencies in a bid to stop this, and causing even more problems for their staff in the process.
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