By Ricky McAulay, operations development director, Royal Mail

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IN response to North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson's column in the January 4 edition of the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Royal Mail is committed to reaching an agreement to resolve the current pay and change disputes to secure the company's future and its employees' long-term job security.

On January 6, we announced that we would be recommencing facilitated talks through Acas, and these talks started last week.

In her opinion piece, Ms Gibson made some interesting points about the transformation of Royal Mail and the nature of the ongoing negotiations with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

She is right to acknowledge that Royal Mail is a national institution. The postie is part of each community in the country, delivering to every address for one fixed price. We are proud to provide that universal service, and our commitment to it is firm, even though we need reform of the obligation (from a six- to a five-day-a-week letter service) to meet our customer's changing needs and help make it financially sustainable.

She is also right to say that the survival of Royal Mail is central to the pay and change dispute. Where we differ is the route to rebuilding this great business.

The risk to Royal Mail lies in the changing nature of the market in which we operate. The operation was built decades ago to deliver letters. But today's customers send 60 per cent fewer letters than they used to. Instead, they are sending more parcels - parcels accounted for almost £6 out of every £10 of our revenue last financial year.

READ MORE: Patricia Gibson MP: 'It's time to deliver fairness to Royal Mail workers'

We know customers want their parcels delivered quickly, seven days a week, with less environmental impact. So, we have invested £900m over three years to meet their demands: building two parcel sorting super hubs, updating our operations to handle parcels more efficiently, and investing in electric vehicles.

But more is needed. We are operating in a highly competitive environment. To survive, we need to change how we work to deliver more parcels when customers want to receive them; often now ordered late into the evening for delivery the next day and at weekends, including Sundays. These proposed changes are at the heart of our pay-for-change dispute with the CWU.

We are proud to have the best pay and conditions in our industry. Our model sets us apart in an industry dominated by insecure work and low pay. Our leadership in this space is a point of difference from our gig economy competitors, and we want to preserve this. We are bringing in new recruits on different contracts, but their terms, conditions and pensions will still be the best in the industry. This is not the gig economy. We are not looking to "uberise" the workforce.

We know that change can be hard, and we want it to work for our employees, so we have listened carefully to colleagues and have made significant improvements to our proposals. For example, existing employees who are not required to work Sundays won't have to. And we are introducing family-friendly schemes to balance our need for more afternoon working with the needs of our people.

While we have been prepared to listen and amend our position throughout our negotiations with the CWU, it is vital to state that change is not optional. Royal Mail is losing more than £1 million a day, so we must change to put the business on a stable footing and secure good pay and industry-leading terms and conditions for the future.