Pensions and privatisation

By Maria Exall, CWU Executive (pers cap)

The intertwined issues of pensions and retirement age will be on the agenda at this year’s Communication Workers’ Union conference. The Post Office schemes are not in the frame for the attacks curremtly happening in the rest of the public sector, but the threat is still there. There will be a call for ballots for strike action if any attempt is made to reduce benefits or increase the age that members are entitled to claim their pension.

The issue of possible Post Office privatisation will be discussed but motions also call for a review of the Postal Services Act which is in effect a challenge to the current Government remit for the postal regulator. This would allow the union to campaign on issues such as public investment in the industry and standards of service to the customer.

The perennial issue of the non-existent union campaign for the public ownership of the telecoms industry is also on the agenda.In the Telecoms Conference the issue of outsourcing and a possible agreement with BT will be discussed. Currently sites are being closed and work is moving without any agreement. An agreement with a promise of converting work currently done by agency workers into permanent posts is rumoured to be on the cards. However the price to be paid in terms of pay and the safeguarding of jobs is not yet clear.

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