LEADERS OF the postal workers' CWU union have halted a national strike ballot. The vote was about the proposed joint venture between the Romec cleaning and engineering section and the private sector.
Further talks are going on about the conditions under which staff will be transferred. There is no halt to the principle of hiving off Romec. Once again, as over the pay deal, CWU leaders dangled the prospect of real action and then ditched it on the slightest pretext.
Such tactics are not going to save postal workers' jobs and conditions. The government-appointed regulator, Postcomm, has just started consultation on a licence for Deutsche Post Global Mail (UK) Ltd. The company aims to collect presorted and some unsorted mail from business customers, and then pass 90 percent of it to the Post Office for delivery! Postcomm says, 'Deutsche Post will pilot the service licensed operators will be able to undertake freely from 1 January next year.'
Private companies will collect mail, sort it or bag it, and then get the Post Office to use its national network to deliver it.
Firms will pay a fee to the Post Office, which enables them to cream off a big profit. Postal workers will be handling and delivering mail which is taking work away from them, cutting jobs, potentially weakening the union and cutting conditions. CWU leaders believe workers must do whatever work is given them. In fact such work is easy to identify and highly vulnerable to strikes, and could be a focal point for resistance.
Getting Royal Mail to do the hard part-the deliveries-underlines how private firms are leeching off the state system. Month after month privatisation is moving relentlessly forward. Postcomm has now proposed a set of terms and conditions for the standard private postal licence.
Up to now all private postal licences have been restricted to pilot schemes of 12 months duration. The new licence will run for a minimum of seven years. It is criminal that union leaders are throwing away chance after chance to start resistance.
POST OFFICE chairman Allan Leighton got £1.6 million last year for his one day a week job at BHS stores.