Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hands off our community Post Offices!

Vanguard March 2013 p. 7
Alice M.

When Australia Post deviously announced the imminent closure of Ferntree Gully Edina Road post office in Melbourne on March 1, it thought the local community would just silently roll over.

But the residents swiftly moved into action.   Within a couple of days of the announcement to close the post office, the postal workers’ union was inundated with phone calls from outraged local residents and small business operators asking to join the fight to keep the post office open.

The union was already battling with Australia Post bosses to stop the closure and protect workers’ jobs. The Edina Road post office is well staffed, conveniently located and easily accessible to the many elderly local residents and small businesses who rely on this post office.

Australia Post’s own Community Consultation Policy turned out to be nothing more than a bit of Senator Conroy’s window dressing.  Australia Post often try to close or privatise post offices without consulting the union or local communities, breaching their own policies on consultation. 

Union and community alliance

Local residents and small businesses organised the distribution of over 2,000 leaflets and post cards calling on the CEO of Australia Post to keep the post office open.  A hastily organised rally outside the Post Office brought together 90 local residents and small business operators.  The residents and the union pledged to take the fight to save jobs and community postal services to federal, state and local governments.  The residents formed a Save Ferntree Gully Edina Road Post Office Residents’ Committee and set up a facebook page to continue to rally the community.

Closure of this post office will wipe out more jobs from Australia Post retail centres, joining a string of local post office closures and cuts to jobs in the past 2 years.  It will leave the local community of residents and many small businesses without a local post office and force many into overcrowded, understaffed and mostly privatised, post offices several kilometres away.  At any time of the day and week these privatised post offices have long customer queues overflowing into the road.  Many are elderly, people with disabilities, and families with small children.

Globalisation kills public ownership

It’s not surprising that community pleas to keep the local community post offices open always fall on the deaf ears of Ahmed Fahour, the CEO of Australia Post and Senator Conroy, Minister for Communications.

Australia Post is the last federal government owned state instrumentality. For several years now, bowing to imperialist globalisation, Australian governments have been restructuring Australia Post resources and operations to help big business corporations to maximise their profit making. The needs of local communities and small businesses are trampled. Community postal services are cut back and more public funds are siphoned off to prop up the mega profit-making by big corporations and monopolies.  

Growth in lucrative parcels business is vied for by local and foreign monopoly transport companies.  Under the Federal Labor government, Australia Post is re-inventing itself into a corporate monopoly in a competitive market, with the sole aim of maximum profit making, and to hell with the postal services to the community and the livelihoods of small businesses.   You can bet your bottom dollar these profits will be used to prop up big business, not expand community services.

Unity of postal workers and their union, local communities and small businesses will grow in the long fight to defend and improve the public postal community services, and the jobs and conditions of hard working postal workers.

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