TRIALS OF the Post Office's new delivery scheme began this week amid farcical confusion. Post Office chairman Allan Leighton said he had ordered the firm's managers to rethink the pilot scheme after hearing the details for the first time on a news programme.
But Leighton allowed pilot schemes which involve charging customers for deliveries to begin on Monday. The only amendment was the introduction of three price bands instead of a single flat rate of £14 a week. The trials are piloting the total abolition of the second delivery. Management say this will enable them to get rid of 17,000 jobs.
Under the pilot schemes, businesses and individuals who want to receive post before 9am will have to pay a weekly fee of £5, £10 or £14 if they get fewer than 20 letters a day. Households which don't pay will get deliveries around noon. In reality they are not losing the second delivery-they are losing the first delivery!
The CWU union has agreed to the trials at 14 offices across Britain. But it contests the claim that the new methods will cause 17,000 job losses. Dave Ward, the union's national officer responsible for delivery workers, says, 'You cannot have a quality postal service on the cheap-literally on the backs of our members.'
With privatisation and job cuts accelerating, the union will have to begin real resistance or see conditions and jobs smashed.