Royal Mail to slash Midlands workforce by 550

Royal Mail has confirmed that it plans to cut 550 jobs in the Midlands, as it reshuffles its operations across the region. The operator said that formal proposals are in place to close and sell its mail centre in Leicester, with other mail centres in Derby and Worcester being downgraded to delivery offices.

In addition, it is proposed that the Ilkeston and Heanor Delivery Office would be incorporated into Derby. Similarly, it is proposed, the delivery offices at Droitwich and Worcester city centre would be relocated to the current site at Wainwright Road, Worcester.

In light of the plans, Royal Mail said that its workforce of 17,500 people across the region will be reduced by 550. However, a company statement said that “everyone who wants to remain in the business would be able to do so”.

Royal Mail said the plans have been drafted following months of discussions with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Unite/CMA, but reiterated that no final decision had been made as the consultation process with the unions is not yet complete.

The proposals form part of the 2010 Business Transformation agreement. Across the UK, 12 mail centres have closed during the last four years, with Royal Mail hoping to make a final decision on the proposed closures across the Midlands this autumn.

The number of items posted each year in the Midlands has fallen by more than 400m since 2006.  With the number expected to fall by a further 500m items by 2015, the modernisation programme, and the formal proposals on which Royal Mail are consulting, have been created with a view to ensuring the successful future of the business, the company said.

Paul Jobling, regional operations director Royal Mail Midlands, said: “Royal Mail’s modernisation programme, which is vital to ensuring a successful future for the letters and parcels business, depends on having the right number of people in our business as well as deploying the right technology and equipment.

“I would like to thank the CWU and Unite/CMA for the valuable input over the last few months.  We will continue to work with both unions to develop plans that support our people through the change process.”

If, following further consultation with the unions, the formal proposals are confirmed; the following mail centres would remain serving the Midlands; Birmingham, North West Midlands (Wolverhampton), Nottingham and South Midlands (Northampton).

In response, Lee Barron, CWU Midlands regional secretary, said: “There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of what’s happening in the Midlands. We’ve got a robust framework in which to work through these changes as well as a package of benefits to help people move to other jobs or premises within Royal Mail. CWU is at the forefront of these negotiations and we are ensuring that postal workers are treated fairly through this process.”

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