The biennial CWU (Republic of Ireland) Delegate Conference was held online in October, due to the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic.
Conference heard how postal workers, like many frontline workers, went above and beyond the call of duty in making sure that delivery services were maintained throughout the pandemic.
The cost of a subvention to maintain postal services in the State is estimated at around €20 million euros per annum. In order to make up for this shortfall, An Post management are attempting to bring in “Prio Eco”, a first and second class mail system, whereby customers will have to pay more for mail to be delivered. Contrast this with the EUR 503 million euro annual subvention to landlords through the Housing Assistance Programme (HAP). The capitalist establishment prefer to deliberately run down an essential public service like An Post rather than pay a tiny subvention, while handling hundreds of millions over to landlords.
An Post have also announced that they intend leaving their flagship General Post Office HQ in Dublin by the end of 2021, to move to rent new premises in Dublin`s Docklands. CWU members are opposed to this move.
Conference also heard from Patricia King, Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) General Secretary. In her address to Conference she said that ICTU will be looking for a “social contract” from the Government and employers. This is pure fantasy. The Social Partnership approach to Trade Unionism has been an unmitigated failure and Unions need to break with this. It failed to stop the decimation of pay, terms and conditions in the years following the 2008 bank collapse and it will prove once again useless to stop any post-COVID assault on workers.
Union activists in the CWU must demand that the union makes a real fight against continued privatisation as part of a process of transforming the CWU into a democratic fighting Trade Union.
Militant Left calls for immediate state subvention for An Post, and for our postal service to be renationalised under democratic workers control and management, as part of a unified Communications Network Strategy including free 5G Broadband to be rolled out immediately. The pandemic has proven that broadband and postal services are essential to functioning of our society and, as such should be provided as public services.