Posties' campaign against privatisation

Postal workers protested outside Australia Post HQ on June 25 to voice their opposition to AP's policy of hiring new employees on lower pay rates and the splitting up their jobs.

AP is closing the Newport, West Footscray and Sunshine delivery centres and shifting the posties to West Footscray. It intends to use the move to cut full-time jobs and employ new starters on four-hour shifts, starting after 6.30am to avoid having to pay workers' penalty rates.

This means that new starters will earn 15% less than their work mates. They will only work a four-hour shift, giving them a take-home pay of just $66 a day. Last year, AP reaped a profit of more than $500 million.

Some of the new starters will also be "out workers". An "indoor" postal worker, or sorting machine, will put the mail in the correct order, and the out worker will pick up the mail from a locked garage close to their assigned postal round, jump on their motorbike or bicycle, and deliver it. No workmates, no facilities, no toilet and no paid 15 minute break.

Joan Doyle, the Victorian state secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) believes that this new policy will lead to a "rapid turnover of staff" and "an increase in delayed and lost mail". Who can live on $66 a day, she asked?

Western suburbs residents have formed an action group to defend their postal service. Shirley Winton from the Western Suburbs Community and Unions Coalition warned that AP should "start listening to what its customers and the community want".

The CWU is currently in enterprise bargaining negotiations with AP which is continuing to refuse to include common law provisions in the new agreement.

Although illegal under Work Choices, common law agreements can now be included in EBAs, to protect against further contracting out and casualisation as well as protecting leave entitlements and other hard-won benefits postal workers still enjoy.

As management continues to push for its neoliberal agenda, without these common law provisions large parts of AP could be contracted out to private providers which would lead to worse employment conditions.

[To get involved in the campaign contact Joan Doyle on 9600 9100 or 0419 345 134 or Shirley Winton on 0417 456 001.]

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