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The Future of Work

Royal Mail casual staff are now employed by Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Mail.

From the LRB blog.

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 doesn’t 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 you’re 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.

On 1 October the EU Agency Workers Regulations came into force in the UK. These give agency workers the same rights as permanent employees after 12 weeks. However, by employing the agency workers directly through a subsidiary, the Royal Mail appears to be able to side-step the regulations. The guidance for employers from the government says:

Those who are likely to be outside the scope of the regulations include… individuals working for in-house temporary staffing banks where a company employs its temporary workers directly (and they only work for that same business or service).

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.

The Royal Mail denies it’s trying to get round the regulations. ‘The company is fully compliant with UK employment law,’ it says, ‘and any suggestion that Angard Staffing Solutions has been set up to, in some way, get round the new Agency Workers Regulations is nonsense.’

Still, Angard staff are not covered by agreements made with the union, and although they have the right to statutory holiday and sick pay, their conditions of employment are, by definition, less secure than their permanent colleagues’. It seems certain that only compliant employees will be kept on for more than 38 weeks. With unemployment on the rise, and jobs ever more scarce, is this the future of work in the UK?

– See more at: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2011/10/31/roy-mayall/the-future-of-work/#sthash.ZCTZcVea.dpuf

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  1. November 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Candidates for Xmas casual jobs in Aberdeen MC were being turned away if they didn’t have photocopies of all their personal documents with them when they went for interview. Many of them hadn’t been told to take photocopies with them although they had the relevant original documents with them.

    • November 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      That sounds like a cheap trick to me. They take on more than they need, “just in case” and then find any excuse to get rid of them when more than they need turn up.

  2. Janet Edmonds
    November 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Angard was set up to side step all the protection recently brought in the protect temporary workers.

    There’s no contact phone number, no address, just an email, where you’ll get an automatic response first go, or an duplicate of an old answer if they don’t want to answer your query.

    The online recruitment software is out of date, you don’t get a confirmation email to confirm you have actually completed your application. The first I knew, after I’d given up, was a cold phone call. That was the ‘interview’. The face to face was just to hand over ID. You have to photocopy those documents, (lots of), for yourself pre visit.

    I was supplied with the wrong postcode for the visit.

    At the face to face, I didn’t see the work area, the person I spoke to didn’t know what work or hours, he didn’t know either.

    My ‘what now’ email has been responded to with a reply I had already received to a previous query.

    I’m on the point of telling them to stuff it. This is too bad to last.

    • November 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      I’m considering writing some more on Angard if you’d be willing to talk to me Janet. It all sounds very fishy to me.

  3. Mark
    November 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Hope you do write some more Roy. Angard are seriously in need of a thorough in depth investigation. These are people’s lives they seem so cavalier in dealing with. My casual job with RM (under a RM contract!!) would at least give me 2 or 3 nights a week. I have had nothing from Angard in the last 2 weeks. My payslips are wrong, shifts are missed and most galling of all is the hourly rate has dropped for me by 16%.
    Google Angard and there a a number of disgruntled people out there!!

  4. majid anwar
    November 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    i have received email from Angard for Christmas Casual Work Registration Event – Invitation‏. all steps i understood but how can i book my registration event although i have tried many times to log in my royalmail application account which is sent me by Angard staffing but i can’t see any time slots to book my registration session there is nothing any thing like this so i am curious how to do

  5. Harvey
    November 17, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Employees were being turned away from NDC when they turned up for their 1st day at work with being told from Angard that the job had been cancelled ! Typically hopeless !

  6. Kevin Taylor
    November 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I turned up for work at Malmo Road sorting office in Hull last night at 10pm. I’d agreed this shift with Angard and had an email confirmation and text message confirming this. At least 50 turned up, we were made to watch a health and safety DVD then were told only 10 were needed that night which they increased to 15. 10 for the next night and 6 for the next night! If you didn’t get in try next week. At least 10 were turned away after watching the DVD until 11pm because their names weren’t on the list even though they’d had confirmation from Angard. Unbelievable!!

  7. Petronius
    January 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Angard Staffing Solutions have behaved in a most despicable and appalling manner: inexcusable and totally unacceptable actions and behaviour to ALL its supposedly highly valued and indispensable Christmas casuals.

    Most of the 15,000 casual staff have still not been paid!

    Some basics that have not been attended to by the incompetent and inept grossly overpaid directors of RM:

    No properly functioning payroll system, no properly staffed payroll helplines, a completely inept recruitment process, non-payment of most of its staff, the use of reed.co.uk is sinister

    It is utterly despicable, TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and morally corrupt not to pay Christmas casuals correctly or not at all whilst Royal Mail’s senior managers and directors namely MOYA GREENE and JOHN DUNCAN, director of HR at RMG heap lavish fat cat bonuses on themselves based on THE PERFORMANCE, HARD WORK AND DEDICATED COMMITMENT OF the 15,000 CASUAL WORKFORCE!

    Their Christmas bonuses SHOULD BE WITHELD UNTIL EVERY SINGLE CASUAL WORKER IS PAID CORRECTLY! I am still owed £650.38 gross salary.
    Disgraceful behaviour, incompetence and complete ineptitude on the part of ANGARD STAFFING SOLUTIONS LTD!

    Angard has been operational since January 2011 and adopted a payroll system/offshoot from RMG so what exactly is happening?

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