An Post workers fearing for future deliver tough message to Dail
A UNION's claim that An Post's entire 10,000-strong workforce may lose their jobs when the market is thrown open to competition next year was dismissed as an "exaggeration" yesterday.
Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) braved the icy conditions yesterday to stage a protest at the Dail over the forthcoming liberalisation of the postal market.
However, the Department of Communications said the bill was designed to ensure fair competition. "Like every other European country that has gone through this process, An Post will remain the key deliverer of mail in Ireland," a spokeswoman said.
The CWU claimed "cherry picking" competitors will target lucrative city markets and this will impose costs on the State to fund letter delivery to remote areas.
It said the Postal Services Bill, published in the Seanad this week, "threatens the livelihoods of 10,000 workers at An Post and will undermine daily postal deliveries".
The union has mounted a nationwide campaign 'Protect Your Post' to highlight the implications of the new bill and called for amendments to ensure rural deliveries continue.
"Irish people don't need reminding of the misery that markets, unfettered competition and 'asleep at the wheel' regulation can wreak on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people," CWU General Secretary Steve Fitzpatrick said.
Rathmines postman Cormac O Dalaigh claimed the Royal Mail in the UK had suffered massive losses and was on the verge of "going to the wall" due to liberalisation of the market.
An Post said it has been improving its service for many years in anticipation of the market opening. A spokesperson said it was up to customers to decide which service to use, based on value and reliability.