Help When you Need it Most
Here are samples of the kind of disputes between POL and our members that we have been able to resolve.
Royal Mail Security Department
A Postmaster had a large clientele who made volume postage transactions, mail shots etc. Following a check on his mails segregation accuracy by RM revenue protection teams, a mail shot was found to be under-priced. Rather then take this up with the Postmaster the RM Security department was informed, otherwise known as the IB.
The IB checked this Branches Horizon system remotely, and found lots of reversals on postage. They put two and two together and came up with 6, they marched in to the Branch and accused the Postmaster of defrauding the Royal Mail and POL. He was taken away and interviewed under The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) regulations for over 4 hours. He was suspended and kept suspended for weeks. Then POL decided to terminate the Postmasters contract.
The Branch stepped in, upon examining the facts and questioning our member we quickly could identify that he had done nothing wrong other than make a mistake pricing up one particular mail shot, he subsequently paid the shortfall in postage, the postage reversals were down to the manner in which the customers paid this Postmaster for their mail shots, this was a detailed and complicated case but in short POL and their security department were over zealous and jumped to the wrong conclusion. If the Postmaster had been questioned by someone who understands how Postmasters have to earn a living they would have understood what the Postmaster was doing.
We got the Postmaster reinstated, and his remuneration reinstated as well.
if this member was left on his own to deal with this matter he would be an ex-postmaster by now.
We have started to see Postmasters called into disciplinary meetings with POL Contract advisers over something called ” Managing Performance”.
This is a little known policy that POL use to weed out under-performing Postmasters. The type of Postmaster that this policy is used upon tends to be larger commercial branches such as those engaged with the Steps Program.
Using the performance policy Postmasters are having their contracts threatened simply because of alleged customer complaints over queuing or staff service, poor mystery shopper results, improperly stocked POPOS, etc etc. ASM’s usually instigate this process. The policy is a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, and is very subjective on POL’s part.
The Branch has built up a specialist knowledge in this area, and have been successful in reining in POL’s attempts to force our members out of their contract by the Managing Performance Policy.
Just going about your normal business can lead to trouble, if the ASM doesn’t like how you run your own business. Smaller Branches should not be complacent this policy has been and can be used against smaller branches.
Help After Robberies
Postmaster Culpability following a robbery are often the more distressing cases our Branch deals with, sometimes our members are injured during the course of a robbery yet POL rather than care for the Postmasters welfare are more interested in examining in fine detail the conduct of the Postmaster and or the staff during the robbery to see if the actions of the Postmaster contributed to the robbery occurring.
Post Office Limited then attempt to recover the robbery loss from the Postmaster. We have represented several of our members involved in such cases and have been successful in proving that the Postmaster was not at fault and in fact we have proved that it was in fact POL who were at fault due to poor security equipment.
One of our members and his wife were brutally stabbed during the course of one robbery, although there was no claim of culpability the Branch stepped in, and referred our member to our HQ Legal team who took up his case for criminal injury compensation.
Giving you the help you Need
These are just a snap shot of the problems that can devastate a Postmaster. When trouble strikes you need experienced help and support, we are not here to protect blatant theft of PO assets, but we do believe each case should be judged on its merits, if POL are at fault we will defend you to the end, if you are at fault we will tell you, and help you through the disciplinary process. We do not consider it to be our place to judge you, members who pay union dues are entitled to representation, if you are innocent justice will prevail.
Our advocacy service alone is worth the membership fee.