Another union to join in postal strikes?

[Monday]

Last week we learned that the postal dispute was back on.

Today, news that another union, is warning that it may ballot its members this week:

Unite said as well as scrapping final salary pensions, it feared Royal Mail would increase its retirement age. […]

A Royal Mail spokesman said it would consult with staff before any pension changes came into effect. […]

CWU members are due to walk out again for 48 hours from 5 October and 8 October.

At the centre of the CWU’s dispute is Royal Mail’s 2.5% pay offer and modernisation plans.

The union claims the shake-up plans will put about 40,000 jobs at risk.

Royal Mail counters that without dramatic reforms it will not to able to survive in a liberalised mail market.

As always, the bosses are given the last word.

And their claims are rendered absurd when you consider some of the changes Royal Mail has made and plans to make are to enable a “liberalised market” – that is to say it is helping competitors by making it easier for private companies to compete. One example of this is later delivery times.

The logic of competition is that you try and beat your rival, not give him a helping hand!

But of course, what’s happening at Royal Mail isn’t about “greater competition” or “consumer choice”, but reducing workers’ living standards to profit the ruling class…

Unite’s fears that the management might be about to carry out “the great mail robbery” stem from proposals for pension reform contained in a letter sent to senior representatives:

It has been estimated that Royal Mail could reap £1.5bn from just one of the proposed changes.

Unite will meet with Royal Mail on Moday 24th September to discuss Royal Mail’s proposals to change the scheme. The union anticipates that during next week Royal Mail will inform employee’s of the changes to their pension scheme.

One of the expected proposals is to ‘bank” the current benefits, which could cost the members of the scheme up to £1.5 billion. That’s £1.5 billion that would have been paid out in the future to members and their dependants.

The union believes the proposals could include;

* Closing the scheme to new employees.

* Raising the normal retirement age to 65 in 2010.

* From 1 April 2008 replace the current final salary pension schemes with career average schemes.

* “Banking” current benefits (past service benefits) and indexing them to RPI or 5%.

Unite National Officer, Paul Reuter says, “We call upon Royal Mail to honour their commitment to preserve the past service benefits that have been built up and paid for by our members. We also call upon Adam Crozier to honour his commitment given on 7 February 2007 to safeguard the final salary schemes going forward.”

“Failure by Royal Mail to respond positively will leave Unite with no option other than to ballot its’ members for strike action.”

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