Royal Mail has revealed details of a proposed deal aimed at ending a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
The agreement, reached with negotiators from the Communication Workers Union (CWU), includes later starting times for deliveries, regular Sunday working, a 10% pay rise over three years and a one-off lump sum of £500.
The proposed deal will be put to a ballot of union members in the coming weeks.
Royal Mail said in a statement that it is currently “materially loss-making”, adding: “This agreement is an important step forward in the turnaround of Royal Mail and, if approved by the CWU membership, represents a good outcome for customers, employees and shareholders.
“The agreement provides a platform for the next phase of stabilising the business whilst continuing to drive efficiency and change.
“The operational changes in the agreement are designed to improve competitiveness, particularly in next-day parcels, reduce cost and environmental impact and improve quality of service for our customers.
Under the proposed agreement, from March 2024, delivery start times will be moved back.
Royal Mail said this would respond to the demand for more next-day parcels, reduce its impact on the environment through the removal of 18 flights a day, improve quality of service and create greater capacity to grow.
The aim is to limit changes to start and finish times in delivery by 60 minutes, with the option to move times up to 90 minutes if needed.
The last letter delivery time will move to 4.30pm.
From the autumn, Royal Mail will deploy new seasonal working patterns under which postmen and women will work 39 hours a week in the peak Christmas season, 35 hours in the quieter summer season and 37 hours for the remainder of the year.
A single parcel network between Royal Mail and Parcelforce will be created to change the current duplication, which sees both companies carrying the same format of parcels and visiting the same customers on the same day.
New employee contracts will include a requirement for regular Sunday working, which Royal Mail says will enable it to grow its seven-day parcels business and adapt to changing customer demands.
There is a commitment to no compulsory redundancies for the life of the agreement and a joint review in April 2025 to consider whether it can be extended.
The agreement includes a 10% pay increase and a one-off lump sum of £500 for CWU grade employees in Royal Mail and Parcelforce.
This is broken down into a previously consolidated 2% pay rise that applied from April 2022, a consolidated 6% pay rise applying from April 2023, a one-off non-consolidated lump sum payment of £500 (broadly equivalent to 2% of pay and pro-rated for part-time employees) and a consolidated 2% pay rise from April 2024.
The union said if its members vote to accept the deal, it is expected to end the long running dispute that saw 115,000 postal workers take 18 days of strike action in the second half of 2022.
The CWU said the agreement includes abandoning the introduction of owner-drivers into the Royal Mail core system, effectively ending the “Uberisation” of the company, reducing agency workers, no compulsory Sunday working, and establishing an independent inquiry for suspended or sacked workers.
A CWU spokesperson said: “This situation has been arrived at only because of the sheer determination of every postal worker in this country who stood up for themselves, their jobs and their industry.
“We intend to put this deal to our members’ vote as soon as possible.”