24. Februar 2009
UNI Post & Logistics - Global Bulletin 2009 #1Work stoppages in Argentina Post
On Thursday and Friday 4-5 December there would be "total strike" in all areas where Argentina Post employees work if the union does not receive a favourable response from the company to their request for improvements in their conditions of work. For the last few days, workers who are members of FOECyT have been carrying out partial stoppages of two hours per shift.
Jorge Milettia Antonio, FOECyT in La Plata, said this was a strike organized by trade unions affiliated to FOECyT., which covers the whole country and includes administrative clerks and mail officers for all of the Rep.
Argentina. The union says they are taking the action because of the lack of a response by the company since discussions were supposed to have commenced last August when the union requested their share of the company profits (which today would come to about $ 1000 per employee). The strike has been taking place already with cessation of activity of 2 hours per shift and would continue with total stoppage of activities on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 December
UNI Post & Logistics Workshop on Liberalisation
On 26 November, UNI organised a workshop in Luxembourg on the liberalisation of the postal sector in Europe. The workshop was an opportunity to get some updates and information from a representative of the European Commission regarding the situation with the third postal directive.
Participants from UNI P&L affiliates also shared what their unions have been doing in dealing with the liberalisation of the postal sector in their
country: union participation in the Public Consultation Process in Ireland, collective contract bargaining in the Netherlands, organising in new companies in Sweden and the issue of the minimum wage in Germany.
UNI Post & Logistics presented a strategy that could be organised in response to the impact of the 3rd directive and asked feedback from participants.
The UNI Post & Logistics' policy was also shared with participants in order to get feedback.
NALC Stops Delivery Outsourcing in the USA, the Moratorium on Contracting Out is Extended 3 more years!
The campaign of UNI Post & Logistics affiliate, NALC to stop the use of contract workers to deliver mail in the United States advanced dramatically when a new agreement to prohibit outsourcing in letter carrier workplaces was reached with the United States Postal Service.
NALC President William H. Young announced in November that National Association of Letter Carriers and the Postal Service had signed a Memorandum of Understanding that bans new Contract Delivery Service routes in all offices where city letter carriers work. The prohibition will remain in force for at least the remainder of the union's 2006-2011 contract. The MOU also assigns new deliveries to career letter carriers rather than to contractors.
In addition to stopping the expansion of Contract Delivery Service, NALC has also secured new delivery work for unionized city carriers. Although the growth in the number of new deliveries has moderated in recent months due to the severity of the nation's housing and mortgage crises, NALC members will finally win a significant share of new deliveries -- deliveries that in recent years have been outsourced. This will become an increasingly important source of jobs as the economy recovers.
A video on the NALC's campaign was prepared for the union's national convention in August. Other information is available on the union's website at http://www.nalc.org or by contacting Jim Sauber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
US Mail Handlers put together task force to tackle sub contracting
UNI Post & Logistics affiliate in the United States, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) has put together a union task force to tackle sub contracting and the planned deployment of Flat Sequencing System (FSS) machines. The Task Force put together an Action Plan that includes a multi-faceted approach, all aimed at trying to stop or minimize any subcontracting. It includes, but certainly is not limited to, political action in the US Senate which would require the Postal Service and the Unions to negotiate about any large subcontract relating to mail processing; and putting local and nationwide political pressure on the 111th Congress and the new Obama Administration to oppose contracting out of more postal work to low-paid, no-benefit workers who are employed by contractors that pose mail security risks, that do not comply with veteran preference laws, and that could unilaterally halt mail processing, whether through strikes, lockouts, or other nefarious means. When the economy is in such weak shape, mail volume is down, and voluntary retirements are being encouraged by postal management, the Task Force agreed, it makes no sense whatsoever to be giving away work to the unregulated private sector.
For more information on the activities of the task force see the NPMHU web page at:
Four more days strike to support SNTCT's justified demands with CTT Correios
Post & Logistics affiliates SNTCT and SINTTAV are continuing their struggle for their justified demands to be met in negotiations for their collective contract with Portuguese Postal company, CTT Correios. This struggle has been going on for many months now and in December SNTCT had another 4 day strike to try and get their demands met and CTT Correios back to the bargaining table. The union has now taken strike action over more than 13 days and also carried out a hunger strike to support their justified claims. CTT Correios have also been making demands on the union that have made it extremely difficult for the union to continue it's day to day activities, such as insisting that union officials who are employed by CTT Correios are at their workplaces all the time instead of having the traditional time off to carry out their union activities that they have previously been entitled to under the "allegedly" now expired collective agreement.
Further UNI demands that CTT Correios stops its tactic of harassing the union and restores the right of Portugal Post workers who are officials of SNTCT to be able to carry out their union duties.
Chilean Postal Workers demand a stop to lay offs
The Board of the National Workers' Union of Empresa de Correos de Chile(SINTECH) has publicly denounced the indiscriminate dismissal of numerous employees from the postal administration on grounds of an alleged business economic crisis that, undoubtedly, will seriously affect the entire Chilean working class. In light of this situation, the union has engaged in a relentless fight in defence of the jobs of its members. To this end, it has sent a letter to the President of the Republic and the Ministers of Labour and of Communications requesting that they "urgently see to it that bipartite audits be conducted in companies and unions in order to bring to light what is known to be dubious management of fiscal funds both in state-owned and private companies, which use workers' pension funds to their benefit."
For more information please send an email to SINTECH:
Bahrain campaign against union ban
Unions in Bahrain have won new backing from the International Labour Organisation in their campaign to end the government's ban on public service workers forming their own unions - a restriction that hits groups like Post Office employees.
"All public service employees (with the exception of the armed forces and
police) should be able to establish organisations of their own choosing to further and defend their interests," said the ILO's Freedom of Association Committee last month.
The ILO has also urged the government to compensate Najjeyah Abdel Ghaffar, who is one of the top leaders of the Bahrain postal union that the government brands as an "illegal and unlawful entity". She has been suspended without pay several times for her union activities.
""One of the fundamental principles of freedom of association is that workers should enjoy adequate protection against all acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment such as dismissal, demotion, transfer or other prejudicial measures," said the ILO Committee in a recent ruling.
UK Postal Workers Face Pressure to Complete Unrealistic Delivery Routes
Postal workers are facing pressure to complete unrealistic delivery routes because of misuse of software system "Pegasus", says CWU. The CWU accuses Royal Mail of putting delivery workers under pressure to complete delivery rounds that are too long to complete within normal hours. Bob Gibson, CWU national official, said: "Royal Mail is using this system to meet financial savings without considering the physical realities of delivery rounds. This is putting pressure on delivery workers and leading to bullying and harassment. "CWU has an agreement with Royal Mail to jointly review all aspects of Pegasus, but the business has reneged on this and is pushing ahead with damaging changes without input from the union. This is having disastrous consequences on services in some parts of the country. "We're receiving high volumes of complaints and seeing a deterioration in both industrial relations and service standards. We need Royal Mail to see sense and review this system with the CWU."
Morocco: the national strike and sit-in worked
On 5 December, FNPT-UMT, the Moroccan affiliate of UNI Post and Logistics held a one day national strike and a sit-in in front of the Parliament. The strike was particularly well attended with over 90% of employees. They were protesting against the project of privatization of the Moroccan Post. They were also claiming for similar working conditions to those of other public sectors in Morocco. These claims were heard. Indeed, concerning the project of privatization of postal services, a national debate on the future of Post in Morocco will be organized by the government in partnership with the management of the the Post of Morocco, FNPT UMT, politicians, trade union and civil society.
On the other hand, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and new technologies has encouraged the leadership of the Moroccan Post to make more effort to allow employees of the Post to benefit from higher wages.
Parliamentary committee demands the Swiss Cabinet reverse their decision on postal market liberalization
The Transport and Communications Committee of the Swiss parliament has asked the Swiss Federal Council to abandon its hasty decision to liberalise the Swiss letter market. The committee has indicated that they believe this is an incorrect decision which will harm the quality of service offered by the postal service in Switzerland. UNI Post & Logistics Swiss affiliate, Le Syndicat de la Communication continues to warn against the negative consequences of full liberalization of the postal market. The fiasco of the full liberalization of the electricity market in Switzerland clearly highlights the dangers. Since the postal market is a quasi-monopoly, as the electricity market, the risks are the same: higher prices for the population and SMEs. Another risk is that new competitors lower working conditions of their employees if they would not be required to pass a collective labour agreement with unions.
Switzerland: Union gains 2.5% salary raise for Secure Post workers
UNI Post & Logistics Swiss affiliate, Syndicat de la Communications, has advised that they have gained a 2.5% wage increase for the workers in the Swiss Postal Company, Secure Post after contract negotiations.
New workers who had transfered to the company without a guarantee of salary, will receive a 2.5% increase and a lump sum of 400CHF as a bonus for the profitable operation of the company.
Workers who had transfered to the company and kept their existing salary will receive a lump sum of 1700CHF which is the equivalent of a 2.5% salary increase plus the lump sum.
UK: UNITE and the CWU react to the report on Royal Mail
On 17 December 2008, Unite the Union representing Royal Mail managers gave a cautious welcome to the long anticipated independent report produced by Richard Hooper and his colleagues, welcoming the commitment to the universal service and the fact that it has been recognized that Royal Mail is best placed to provide this, as well as the recognition in the Hooper Report of the past failures in industrial relations and looks forward to improved engagement between management and the trade unions. Unite also recognizes that the commitment to solving the pensions fund deficit issue is positive and will allow Royal Mail to concentrate on improvements in efficiency and productivity issues. However, Unite is opposed to the full blown privatization of Royal Mail and will want to explore with BERR what the likely affect a minority partner will have on Unite members and the service to the public.
Paul Reuter, Unite national officer for the Royal Mail Group said, "There are not too many surprises in the report but the devil is in the detail and we will be looking to ensure that our voice is heard during the deliberations of BERR before it makes its policy announcements in the new year."
Brian Scott, Assistant National Secretary for Unite said, "The Hooper Report confirms the failure of Royal Mail senior executives to prepare the organization for the future. Unite members have had to bare the brunt of ongoing job cuts for the last 5 to 6 years."
Unite also calls upon Royal Mail to enter into immediate debate about the number of jobs required to meet the universal obligation.
Billy Hayes, General secretary of the CWU, UNI's other affiliate in the UK, said: "It is incredible that the British Government which has lead the world in overhauling banks need another European postal service to rescue the Royal Mail. Especially one which has already been disgraced by losing sensitive data disks in the mail.
"This was meant to be a report about competition but Mandelson has ignored the damage done through irresponsible liberalisation and advocates more involvement by private companies.
"We welcome the move to Ofcom which recognises both changes in the communications sector and the failings of Postcomm to manage the mail market effectively, however we look forward to receiving more information on future regulation."
Dave Ward, deputy general secretary, said: "There is no need to seek private funding from outside companies in a joint venture. This would open the floodgates for full-blown, damaging privatisation. Post is a key public and business service which must retain the protection and guidance of Government for sustainable success.
"We welcome the fact that our campaign to get the Government to secure Royal Mail workers' pensions has been successful. The news that the USO has been safeguarded is also very welcome.
"We will be studying the detail of the report closely over the coming weeks and will respond fully in the New Year."
The report which advocates partial privatisation of Royal Mail, can be found
Keep the UK Post Office public, sign the CWU petition
The CWU, UK, have set up an ePetitions web page where UK citizens can go to sign up to a petition to send to the UK Prime Minister to oppose the proposed privatisation of Royal Mail.
Please go to this link to sign the petition:
France: CGT's letter to President Sarkozy
In its letter to President Sarkozy, the CGT, one of UNI's French affiliate recalled its opposition to the privatization of La Poste and reminds the President of the Memorandum it has prepared including ideas for the modernization of the public postal sector.
The letter (in French) may be found here:
US Postal Service reports losses from economic downturn
In a recent news media statement, the U.S. Postal Service said that the 2008 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2008) had concluded with a net loss of $2.8 billion as the national economic slowdown lowered mail volume and as the Postal Service bore additional costs mandated by the Postal Act of 2006.
The loss occurred despite more than $2 billion in cost-cutting measures that included the use of 50 million fewer work hours compared to the previous year. The Postal Service continued to improve national on-time First-Class Mail delivery performance, reaching record highs in FY 2008.
Mail volume in FY 2008 totalled 202.7 billion pieces, a decline of 9.5 billion pieces, or 4.5 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year.
Declining mail volume was a symptom of the worsening national economy, particularly related to the financial and housing industries and to trends toward the use of electronic mail.
Total revenue in FY 2008 was $75 billion, unchanged from last year. Expenses totalled $77.8 billion.
In their statement USPS management said; "We expect the new fiscal year to be another difficult one for the Postal Service and the entire mailing industry, as economic factors will continue to reduce mail volume and increase expenses," Postmaster General John Potter told the Postal Service Board of Governors. "As we continue to reduce work hours and other costs, our top priority remains providing excellent service to our customers. The combination of excellent service and affordable prices makes Postal products a great value."
Global economic slump means consolidation of US Postal Service delivery routes
A huge drop in the volume of mail passing through the U.S. Postal System will lead to consolidation of urban carrier routes, possibly affecting daily delivery times for millions.
"We're facing the biggest decline since the Great Depression," said Terry Penland, customer relations coordinator for the Postal Service in Kansas City.
Postal officials cite the weakened economy as well as the growth of e-commerce and e-mail.
The Postal Service's year-end review anticipates no economic recovery in 2009, with another drop of 8 billion pieces.
The Postal Service managed to cut costs by $2.2 billion last year through reductions in overtime, attrition and new labor agreements. But to meet its universal service obligations of delivery six days a week and to cover the average of 1.7 million new delivery points that have been added each year over the past four years is forcing the Postal Service to cut costs by consolidating some of the 85,000 urban delivery routes across the US. The changes could affect as many as 50 million addresses nationwide.
The National Association of Letter Carriers, a UNI Post & Logistics affiliate, is actively involved in trying to deal with the crisis.The union joined with the Postal Service to put in place procedures required to change routes.
Fewer pieces of mail means it takes less time for letter carriers to sort it at their stations and it takes less time on their routes to deliver it. A postal station may have several full-time routes but one or two that take less than eight hours to sort and deliver. The delivery points on those routes could be redistributed among the others for greater efficiency and cost savings.
NALC has said that their strategy is to ensure that career employees do not lose their jobs, but they might be reassigned. The Postal Service is offering early retirement to letter carriers but there have been no involuntary layoffs. The service is relying on attrition to reduce payroll so far and NALC is working to ensure this is the case.
APWU President Burrus talks about falling mail volumes in the US
"Over recent months I have informed the membership of significant changes that will be made in response to the economic slump and the corresponding reduction in mail volume, which has produced massive USPS deficits.
I am aware that many postal employees and union activists believe there is a union response that can mitigate the impact of these changes or prevent them from occurring. They believe that vigilant contract enforcement or political action can forestall the negative impact that is affecting every other part of the economy.
Certainly, the APWU and the other unions will vigorously enforce all negotiated agreements, and we will engage the public and elected officials in the preservation of postal services; but until the economy recovers and volume returns to its former level, there will be significant changes.
Postal management has very few options.
Approximately 3,500 APWU-represented employees are exposed to the possibility of layoffs. The remaining APWU-represented employees are protected, but other changes will affect them, including relocations and reassignments. Part-time flexible and light-duty employees will experience work-hour reductions to a level that cannot support a family. The toleration for absences from work will be diminished, so that many absences will be challenged, requiring the application of the contractual "just cause"
Under the best of circumstances, and no matter how successful the Obama administration is, the economic recovery will not happen quickly. So, in the short term, postal employees and all other employees who work for a living can expect disruption and inconvenience for months to come.
Norway: 370 jobs go in Posten
UNI Post & Logistics Norwegian affiliate, Postkom, has been in negotiations about the scope of the downsizing. The 2009 result is a "record" cut at 340 positions in staff and support functions. In 2010, an additional 30 positions will go. -"Although the cut is less extensive than previously indicated by the records, it feels heavy for Postkoms members to enter into a new period of change and uncertainty" said Federation President, Christian Øverland.
In December Posten went out with a press release that warned that up to 450 positions from the current level of 1,500 positions in staff and support functions would be cut. This restructuring is one of several measures in Posten's cost cutting program, "Spinnaker", which they say must be undertaken as a result of falling letter volumes and increased competition.
UPCE settles with Canada Post after 6 weeks strike
Richard Des Lauriers, National President of the Union of Postal Communications Employees, one of UNI Post & Logistics affiliates in Canada, sent a message of thanks for the support from UNI and affiliates during their recent tough strike action with Canada Post.
The union reports that after 6 weeks of being on strike, the membership rejected the final offer of Canada Post before the union made some changes and the employer used bullying tactics and threatened employees with losing their jobs, annual bonus and that if the union didn't settle before December 24, 2008 they would keep them on strike indefinitely.
UPCE says that they are very proud of the members they stood up to this nasty employer and pushed them to the wall. So that in the end even though they had to make changes to the way sick leave is calculated and paid, they managed to get full job security for all members, shift premiums were increased, they gained call centre prep time for the agents and wage increases of 2.5 for the first two years and 2.75 for the following two years.
In his message to UNI, Richard Des Lauriers has said: "UNI Post & Logistics and UNI affiliates support was greatly appreciated and I want to thank you all personally for what you did, it made all the difference."
The perils of outsourcing? Post Office franchise owners go bankrupt
Three Post Office branches in Dorset and Wiltshire have shut temporarily after the company running them went into administration. The franchises in St Thomas Street, Weymouth, Trinity Street, Dorchester, and Castle Street, Salisbury, closed during the afternoon of Tuesday 6 January. It comes after Counter Management Ltd, the company that ran the branches, ran up debts of £250,000. The Post Office is putting temporary management teams in to run the offices and their long-term future seems to be secure.
Last year, about 28 Post Office branches closed across Dorset as part of a cost-cutting plan to shut 2,500 branches nationwide.
Derek Clash, secretary of the Bournemouth and Dorset branch of the Communication Workers Union, said: "Although we don't represent the staff at these offices, this shows that crown post offices should not be franchised."
EU Commission Application report on postal services
The EU Commission has just released its report to the Council and the European parliament on the application of the second postal directive (97/67/EC).
This report covers the period 2006-2008 and provides brief information about the importance of postal services and the evolution of the sector. The latest regulatory developments are also tackled, including postal liberalization in Germany or the Netherlands, as well as the development of competition. The Universal service and regulatory authorities are also reported on as well as market trends.
The report is accompanied by the Commission Staff working paper which has more details about the above information
Both reports however draw on the study undertaken by Ecorys that was released last autumn, which is disturbing since information contained in the report was of most concern to UNI.
Furthermore, its is worrying to see that according to the commission, "The Postal Directive and its application by Member States have led to an improved quality of service and have secured the provision of a universal service accessible to all customers" and that "Market opening and the introduction of competition are the key instruments for creating jobs and achieving better services for consumers." Although it is further written that "..benefits for businesses and consumers remain slower than expecte".
The report, in all EU languages, may be found here:
Sustainable development news
UNI Post & Logistics gives our view on sustainable development and the postal industry in the latest UPU Sustainable development newsletter.
This can be seen at:
Economic storm batters Ohio town in wake of DHL closure
CBS News, the US Broadcaster, has just made a program on the economic woes that are hitting Wilmington Ohio as a result of the closure of DHL's US operations. The following is the summary from CBS about what will appear in the program when it broadcast in the USA and a link so you can watch part of it.
Follow this link to watch a preview of the program:
Unions call for rethink of Europes postal liberalization
UNI Post & Logistics held a conference in Budapest, Hungary to discuss the ongoing liberalisation of the postal market in Europe and particularly the effects of liberalisation on the countries in Eastern Europe.
Representatives from unions met with the CEO of Magyar Post, Ildikó Szüts, one of Hungary's MEP's Zita Gurmai, and the World President of UNI Post & Logistics, Rolf Buttner. The UNI-Europa Post & Logistics Steering Group attended the meeting also to help with their experience of liberalised markets and to see how these unions can be assisted in their struggle to ensure that liberalisation does not destroy jobs.
Rolf Buttner in replying to the presentations of the Hungarian Ministry and Zita Gurmai, said it is time the European Community recognised the dramatic affects on the postal industry of the World's economic crisis and started to rethink the headlong rush into freeing up postal markets. He said the economic crisis was showing falling mail volumes and dramatic changes to the postal market and it didn't make sense any more to just blindly follow a liberalisation regime decided in very different economic times. UNI Post & Logistics asked that the European Parliament and the European Commission take very careful note of what was happening and of the presentations being made by all of the Eastern European union representatives present that liberalisation in the current economic climate would only lead to poorer quality of service, higher unemployment and social dumping.
The participants joint declaration may be found at:
Petition against the privatisation de la Poste France
French unions and left-wing political parties have launched a petition against the announced privatization of La Poste. The petition that was initiated by the CGT, one of UNI's French affiliate, in August 2008 has already gathered thousands of signatures.
The petition may be found at:
Post companies in the Netherlands avoiding proper wages & conditions
One of UNI Post & Logistics Netherlands affiliates, FNV Bondgenoten, have produced a study on the wages and conditions for postal workers working in the new postal companies offering alternative mail service to the traditional postal company, TPG Post. The study details how the companies have found legal loopholes to undermine the socially accepted collective contracts in the Netherlands and to compete unfairly with postal operators who respect workers rights and decent social standards. The paper called the "Black Paper" by FNV, gives staggering details of how the companies have been flouting standard legal protections for workers and the views of the workers being exploited in this manner.
The study exists in both Dutch and an English translation (courtesy of the UNI Post & Logistics Canadian affiliate the Canadian Union of Postal Workers - CUPW). A French version will come soon. It can be found at:
9-13 March 2009 APPU Conference, Auckland, New Zealand
26-27 March 2009 UPU Consultative Committee, Bern Switzerland
16 April 2009 European Postal Social Dialogue Working Groups: CSR / Training
29-30 April 2009 UNI-Europa Post & Logistics Committee Meeting,
8-9 May 2009 UNI-Africa Post & Logistics Liberalisation Seminar, Hammamet, Tunisia
11-13 May 2009 UNI-Africa Post & Logistics Conference, Hammamet, Tunisia
18 May 2009 UNI-Americas Post & Logistics Committee Meeting, Mexico
19-20 May 2009 UNI-Americas Post & Logistics Conference, Mexico City,
21-22 May 2009 UNI Post & Logistics World Committee Meeting, Mexico
27-29 May 2009 Rutgers Post Conference, Bordeaux, France
12 June 2009 European Postal Social Dialogue Plenary, Brussels,
UNI Post & Logistics Global Union
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