Today Sunday December 15, 2013.
On December 11, 2013 Canada Post Corporation shocked the entire nation by shamelessly announcing sweeping cuts to postal services and its plans to end door to door mail delivery within the next five years. This will result in 8,000 letter carrier jobs being lost. Postal workers throughout the country just like the Canadian people are simply outraged over this decision made by the Board of Directors of Canada Post Corporation who did not even bother to consult with them or their union.
The country’s 54,000 postal workers organised into the Canadian Union of Postal Workers along with the national union leadership found out through radio broadcasts the devastating news at noon hour that day. The cuts were announced in the most anti-democratic fashion with the corporation waiting the very next day the fall session of Parliament went into recess ensuring that no debate in the House of Commons would take place over the issue.
The Sunday e-mail vehemently condemns the decision of Canada Post Corporation to end door to door mail delivery in Canada and calls upon everyone to fight for a new direction of the economy where public right and the rights of all can triumph over the greed of monopoly right and its blindness wrecking of Canadian public institutions and infrastructures.
There is an alternative to this and together we must articulate and fight for it. The capital centred outlook of the monopoly capitalist class which Canada Post espouses looks at the workers as being a “cost of production” and at essential postal services as “liabilities”. This outlook must be defeated and replaced with a modern human centred outlook which looks at the workers as the actual producers of all the wealth which must be looked after throughout their lifecycle and at postal services as indispensable to the well-being of the national and socialised economy.
Canada Post claims that by ending door to door mail delivery it will save $500 million. Ending door to door delivery is part of a five point action plan that the corporation has designed for the postal system to return to financial self-sustainability by the year 2019 and ensure a “continued role of enabling trade and commerce” which means that the corporation will be focussing its operations towards the parcel part of the business while letting go of letter mail for which it has a guaranteed monopoly. Letter mail is what allows Canada Post to fulfil its universal obligation to deliver postal services at the cheapest possible rate to all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Door to door mail delivery will be converted to community mailbox delivery. Canada Post argues that two thirds of Canadian households already receive community mailbox delivery and that the change will have little impact on the Canadian population. Community mailboxes were first introduced in the 1980’s when Canada Post first attempted to achieve financial self-sufficiency as per the government’s directives not to be a burden to “taxpayers” and to provide it with dividend payments.
Aside from ending door to door mail delivery, the action plan contains four other points which Canada Post says will form the foundation of a “new postal system designed to serve busy Canadians and meet their changing needs for postal services”. These changes will begin taking effect in the New Year.
A two tiered pricing structure for letters mailed within Canada will also be introduced resulting in a significant increase in the price of the stamp for ordinary Canadians while giving reduced rates to businesses because they mail higher volumes.
Canada Post will continue to undermine its own retail network by opening up more privatized retail outlets in stores across Canada. The five point plan points out that Canada Post will “continue to align its corporate post offices to customer traffic patterns”. What Canada Post has been doing for the past several years is opening up private franchises in the area serviced by its own retail outlets and then closing its own saying that “traffic patterns” do not support the public outlet.
The corporation will also aim at streamlining its operations which will have a major impact in mail processing as letter mail will be consolidated to be processed within the four major centres of production; Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg while parcel processing will be streamlined throughout the country which will give rise to plant closures, downsizing and de-mechanization of certain plants so as to handle parcel processing.
In November 2012, the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant began to truck its Friday mail collection to Montreal for processing and speculations now abound that all of its mail collection from Monday to Friday will be sent to Montreal come January 2014. This is creating a lot of insecurity amongst the workers at the OMPP who fear that their plant will soon be de-mechanised and significantly downsized if not closed all together.
Another major component of the five point plan is the corporate emphasis on “addressing the cost of labour”. Canada Post says that it will continue to bring the “cost of labour in line with its competitors through attrition and collective bargaining over time”. This means that it will pursue in the direction of demanding wage and contract concessions from postal workers so that it can pocket part of the added-value the workers produce and claim as compensation. It will also attack the defined benefit pension plan and demand concessions from the workers on this issue as well under the hoax of “taking steps to permanently address the sustainability of its pension plan”.
Canada Post says that once the five point plan is fully implemented, four of the five initiatives are expected to generate financial benefits to the corporation with an estimated combined worth of $700 million to $900 million per year. They say that those figures do not include the significant annual savings in labour costs and from restructuring the pension, because these are yet to be addressed through future rounds of collective bargaining.
Pension relief has also been granted to Canada Post for a period of four years by the Conservative government which means that Canada Post will not have to make special payments and inject money towards funding the solvency deficit which is now estimated to be at $6.5 billion for which $1 billion in special payment was required in 2014 alone. This decision by the government will greatly exacerbate the solvency deficit.
Canada Post claims that with this five point action plan, it will be the “essential enabler of remote trade and commerce that Canadians and Canadian businesses can count on for years to come. Simply put, Canada Post will no longer be in the service of the Canadian people but will be serving monopoly right and positioning itself as an infrastructure solely in the service of the making of maximum amount of capitalist profit for the greedy monopoly capitalist class.
Conservative government Minister of Transport responsible for Canada Post, Lisa Raitt has welcomed Canada Post’s five-point action plan saying in a statement:
“In today’s digital age, Canadians are sending less mail than ever. According to Canada Post, a typical Canadian household buys only one to two dozen stamps per year. Due to the lack of demand, mail volumes have dropped almost 25% per address since 2008 and continue to fall. This is leading to a steep decline in revenues for Canada Post. Since 1981, Canada Post has had a mandate to operate on a self-sustaining financial basis.
The Government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfil its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining financial basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians.
I look forward to seeing progress as Canada Post rolls out its plan for an efficient, modern postal service that protects taxpayers and is equipped to meet Canadians’ needs now and in the future.”
Door to door mail delivery was first introduced in Montreal in 1874. Community super mail boxes have since their introduction in the 1980’s been strongly criticised for being inconvenient and unsafe for the people’s mail. Calls to do away with them have been made repeatedly and Canadian citizens are bound to rise once more against them and demand that door to door mail delivery be provided by Canada Post.
LET US ALL CONDEMN THESE SWEEPING CUTS TO POSTAL SERVICES!
NO TO MONOPOLY RIGHT!
YES TO PUBLIC RIGHT!
OUR SECURITY LIES IN THE FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF ALL!
Ottawa Mail Processing Plant