The ghost of our former Deputy General Secretary (Postal) John Keggie is still with us. The deal that his successor, Dave Ward, has done on the Tailored Delivery System has all the hallmarks of a classic John Keggie deal - 12,000 job cuts and a "two bob" bonus scheme. Well there's no doubt as to who's being stitched up here. Ward managed to force the deal through CWU Conference (the vote on the job cuts element was carried by just 7,444 votes to 7,394) but getting postalworkers in delivery offices to accept the huge increases in workloads which will come is another matter.
The Post Office is changing, and this is our last chance to influence the future. Substitution to electronic communication and increasing competition will impact on mail traffic levels over the next few years. Without a serious reduction in working hours (35 hours gross, for starters) job cuts will be inevitable. We must demand that any savings due to "method change" (going from two deliveries to a single delivery system) are used to reduce our long working hours, and reject the idea that introduction of five day working should be "self-funded".
Not that you'd hear such arguments from the establishment candidates for Ward's old job - Outdoor Secretary. Gibson, Browne and Warren are part of the Headquarter's machine, and their interest in this important post extends no further than their own career development plan. Only Pete Keenleyside, an experienced Area Rep from Manchester who led the opposition to TDS at conference, is willing to challenge the logic of job cuts.
As an "outsider", Pete faces an uphill struggle in a system where branch recommendations are frequently not made on issues of principle, but his campaign should become a focus for the inevitable rank-and-file resistance to TDS. Pete's platform proposes that the Postal Executive Committee should include more lay members so that it can effectively represent the grassroots at leadership level, and demands an end to the culture of secrecy that is designed to keep the members in the dark about much that matters.
- To get involved in Pete Keenlyside's campaign, contact Solidarity for further details.