By a postal worker
While Post Office chairman Alan Leighton and his mates award themselves lottery win-sized bonuses, postal workers are being asked to help Royal Mail save money by losing jobs and extending their delivery rounds.
The most disturbing thing about the so-called "Tailored Delivery System" (TDS) is that the deal is being pushed by union leaders like Dave Ward, the newly elected Deputy General Secretary (Postal). Though it is welcome that Ward has promised to lead a fight over basic pay, a wage rise would be no consolation to the 12,000 postal workers facing redundancy as a result of his agreement on deliveries.
A large number of amendments to TDS were passed by last month's CWU conference, so the agreement is currently being renegotiated. But whatever improvements may be achieved in the revised deal, the principle of a pre-arranged level of savings for each office and a "headcount reduction" will remain.
As there is not yet an agreed deal, branches are being told to "hold the line" and not be forced into revisions by local managers eager to make cuts. The frustration on the shop floor at the lack of five-day weeks, proper equipment, etc., is understandable. But in Horsham, where the office decided to go "it alone", the revision they ended up with has got people on 5-hour deliveries.
Most delivery units, however, are managing to "hold the line" but they can't do that forever, and what the likes of Ward have to offer will not give them any solutions to their problems: the 5-day weeks are meant to be "self funding", Saturdays will be longer, the new bonus scheme will be as much of a con as its predecessors.
The rank and file urgently needs to start a campaign for deliveries planned around providing a public service under decent working conditions, not profit-oriented schemes to fill the pockets of Leighton & Co.
As part of this fight, we should support the one candidate in the upcoming Outdoor Secretary election who opposes these job cuts, Pete Keenlyside. As a long standing area rep in Manchester, Pete is far more in touch with the realities of the job than the other contenders for the position who are all union headquarters-based. The ballot will run from 29 July to 19 August.
Leighton is on the warpath. He has sacked all the "old school" senior and middle managers and replaced them with his people from outside the industry.
Our problem is that many in the CWU leadership are offering to help him implement his Recovery Plan by decimating jobs.
We need a leadership that will oppose these attacks, not collude in them. And we need a rank and file that is organised to ensure leaders serve the members and not management.