Postal workers against privatisation
By Jon Land
SYDNEY — Some 1000 Australia Post workers attended a stop-work meeting here called by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) on February 4, to protest against federal government deregulation proposals. Up to 300 post offices across NSW could be closed or "downgraded".
The federal cabinet decision will allow profitable areas to be parcelled out to private operators, who will not be required to continue the general service provided by Australia Post. The loss in revenue to Australia Post, an estimated $250 million, will affect services and place increasing pressure on workers.
Last year Australia Post contributed $62 million to government revenue, and productivity increased by 5.1%. Despite this, up to 10,000 postal workers could lose their jobs with closure of post offices in "unprofitable" urban fringe, rural and remote areas. Over the last three years, 151 offices have been closed.
The CWU has initiated a campaign — "Hands of Aussie Post" — to defend postal workers' jobs and conditions. A motion was passed unanimously by the NSW Trades and Labor Council on February 3 in favour of backing the campaign.
In Hobart, reports Andrew Watson, postal workers participated in a lunchtime convoy of mail trucks, vans and postie bikes through the city on Feburary 4 to protest against the threatened privatisation. At a rally of about 300 postal workers and supporters outside the GPO, CWU state secretary Kerry Doran warned that the move could result in the loss of 130 jobs and the closure of 26 of the 42 official post offices in the state.