Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Going Postal

From the Guardian , Gregor Gall is professor of industrial relations, University of Hertfordshire , author of 2003 book, "The Meaning of Militancy? Postal Workers and Industrial Relations" writes:-

...Postal workers understand the link between decent working conditions and a decent public service. Through the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) they have organised to defend both, and the link between the two. So the battle is actually over both pay and jobs because this is about the quality of postal workers' working lives and the service they provide...

... it became clear to me how much pride postal workers invested in their jobs. Their ethos was to provide a vital universal service to all, and for them the issues of a sufficient number of workers necessary to provide a quality service became two sides of the same coin.

The current dispute...stems from a neoliberal agenda pursued by Tory and Labour governments alike...The public-service role, a universal service provision and fair employment cannot be provided by market mechanisms and private competition...

When i became a postman it was generally accepted that we were an organisation that existed to facilitate other businesses to make money , much like the provision good roads and they would share the cost out of the general taxation system. Later , however we were seen as a cash milk-cow to provide revenue for governments and once that was recognised we were then re-structured into individual enterprises to be sold off , a sale that failed to materialise. Yet we still remain packaged and parcelled into separate units stacked on the shop-shelf , ready to be sold and purchased when the political climate is judged right , and many of us believe that is the motive of the present Post Office mandarins in seeking conflict rather than resolution to the mail problem .

The once inter-connected unified postal system has not been integrated into the new world of the e-mail and the internet ( snail-mail may have become superfluous in many ways but physical delivery of goods has not ) , a commercial failure that cannot be laid at the feet of postal workers .

As much as i question Lenin there is a element of truth in this description

A witty German Social-Democrat of the seventies of the last century called the postal service an example of the socialist economic system. This is very true. At the present the postal service is a business organized on the lines of state-capitalist monopoly... But the mechanism of social management is here already to hand...To organize the whole economy on the lines of the postal service - State and Revolution Chapter 3

Kropotkin describes how a postal service should be organised and how decisions should be made :-

The Postal Union did not elect an international postal parliament in order to make laws for all postal organisations adherent to the Union...They proceeded by means of agreement. To agree together they resorted to congresses; but, while sending delegates to their congresses they did not say to them, "Vote about everything you like--we shall obey." They put forward questions and discussed them first themselves; then they sent delegates acquainted with the special question to be discussed at the congress, and they sent delegates--not rulers. Their delegates returned from the congress with no laws in their pockets, but with proposals of agreements. Such is the way assumed now (the very old way, too) for dealing with questions of public interest... Anarchism Communism , Its Basis and Principles

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