Postal strike: CWU fails to deliver

An Post staff in several offices around the country have engaged in an effective work to rule over the last weeks. The action has been taken because of continued non-payment of the 3% and the ongoing threat of cutbacks and up to 1,300 job losses.

A delapidated sorting office and worsening working conditions led to a one-day stoppage in Tuam, Co. Galway. After the stoppage workers engaged in a work to rule when management refused to authorise overtime to deal with the backlog. In Drogheda, post boxes were sealed by the company in an attempt to deal with a two day backlog after workers refused to cover shifts for those on leave in a row over overtime arrangements. A separate dispute also developed in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.

The CWU needs to lead a battle on the real issues, the delivery of the 3% without delays, no jobs losses, real investment into the postal service and the fight to keep our services public - no privatisation.

Workers shouldn't hold their breath, though, considering that CWU General Secretary, Con Scanlon, earns Euro250,000 per year as a director of Eircom Ltd., Eircom Esot Trustee Ltd., Eircom Fundings (Holdings) Ltd. and Valentia Telecommuniations. No wonder Con hasn't time to deal with the issues of the people he represents, he's too busy spending his money! A delivery person earns an average of Euro354.12 per week. It's time to kick out the bureaucrats, we need fighting democratic unions to represent our interests.

Industrial action threatened on decentralisation

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) at a special delegate conference voted by over 80 per cent to take any action necessary to halt the government's decentralisation plan.

Charlie McCreevy, on the morning of the special conference, threatened dire electoral consequences if the plan does not materialise and made explicit what everyone knew - that decentralisation is a means by which FF and the PDs hope to improve their electoral chances in the election.

The proposed geographical spread of government offices had already made this clear, with government departments conveniently located in Ministers' constituencies. If this plan is allowed to go ahead, it will severely impact on the lives of these workers who will be forced to uproot families at the whim of a Minister. Those who want to remain in Dublin will effectively have no jobs to go to, making it highly unlikely that the plan will remain 'voluntary'. Decentralising whole sections of government departments to locations around the country opens the way to turning these sections into agencies, as has happended in the UK, with the ultimate aim of privatisation.

The AHCPS, PSEU and the CPSU should unite around a programme of action, including industrial action to scupper the Government's plans.

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This article is from the March 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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