Uniform Agreement

Dear Colleagues,

Branches will be aware that for some years now talks have been ongoing with Royal Mail on a revised and up to date National Agreement on Uniform arrangements and allocation. (Excluding Parcelforce, and Royal Mail Property & Facility Solutions)

The need for an up to date uniform agreement has been clear as the previous Code of Practice on Dress Standards, which dates back to 1998, does not reflect the current uniform range, allocation system, (which has moved away from 2 or 3 year automatic allocations to a yearly reordering process within a set allocation limit against individual items), and simply does not reflect the new and more modern overall approach towards uniform and uniform dress standards which has come about in the past 20 years.

Additionally, there have been a number of motions carried at the CWU Annual Conference over several years which have sought further changes and improvements in relation to uniform arrangements. These factors therefore formulated the background of the discussions with Royal Mail in order to achieve a new Revised Uniform Agreement.

These discussions have now concluded, and a Revised Uniform Agreement has been agreed with Royal Mail and endorsed by the Postal Executive.

The main changes and improvements of the new agreement are:

  • Clarification and improvements for new starters’ uniform allocation from ‘day one’ and based on the ability of new starters to pre-order uniform in advance of their first day of induction.
  • Confirmation of the ability of employees to self order uniform, including self order over allocation, with line manager involvement only being needed in the case of footwear orders over allocation; whilst still enabling employees to place uniform orders via their line manager if they wish to do so.
  • Confirmation of the uniform allocation arrangements against individual job titles, and the ability to order over allocation when items of uniform, including footwear, are damaged or worn out.
  • Confirmation that any non-compliance issues with uniform items is dealt with on an informal basis first and foremost, based against a more modern approach to uniform dress standards.
  • Confirmation that local units can retain a level of serviceable outer wear uniform such as waterproofs or fleece jackets that may be used as a short-term solution in the case of uniform provisions and as an emergency pool stock.
  • A commitment to continue to jointly work with the CWU in seeking to bring about further improvements to the uniform range, including footwear, and that it’s ‘fit for purpose’ via live operational trials.

Additionally, this revised uniform agreement should be reflected up on against further other recent improvements in uniform arrangements, such as the development of female-fit tops (detailed in LTB 264, dated the 9th May 2018), the removal of the gender specific uniform ordering process (detailed in LTB 386, dated the 4th of July 2018), the ongoing developments in relation to female gender specific footwear (set out in LTB 590, dated the 3rd November 2017, and LTB 459, dated the 13th of August 2018) and the trial of a new starters outdoor waterproof coat, (detailed in LTB 415, dated the 25th of July 2018).

These discussions regarding a new Revised National Uniform Agreement have been prolonged and difficult at times, however the agreement now reached with Royal Mail not only reflects a modern approach to uniform arrangements by capturing developments over the past 20 years, but also sets out a joint CWU/Royal Mail commitment to future improvements on uniform arrangements based on live operational trials which will enable our members to directly feedback on uniform developments and provisions.

Any queries to the content of the above, please contact the Outdoor Department, reference: 500.

Email address: outdoorsecretary@cwu.org

Mark Baulch

Assistant Secretary Outdoor