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Government must minimise negative impact of EU Postal Directive

11 July, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Sinn Féin Rural Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has today forwarded to the Department for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Sinn Féin's submission to the Public Consultation Process on the decision to Liberalise Postal Services within the EU.

Speaking from Donegal Senator Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin welcomes this opportunity to make a submission to the consultation by the Department for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources on the decision to fully liberalise the postal sector across the EU. How this state approaches the transposition of the Directive in this state will impact heavily on the viability of our postal service for generations to come. We need to get this process right.

"Sinn Féin MEP's in the European Parliament opposed the Postal Services Directive as we believed that its implementation would be detrimental to mail workers, local post offices and the public and would pave the way to privatisation in public services.

"The maintenance of our post office network is a key concern as we are faced with the liberalisation of postal services. There is concern across Europe that with this Directive, private operators will use temporary workers, post offices will disappear thus ending vital services to communities with particularly negative effects on the elderly. We must fight tooth and nail to ensure this does not happen.

"Concern regarding working standards in postal services have been raised by postal unions across Europe including the Communications Workers Union in Ireland and the UNI-Europa. The European Trade Union Confederation have also raised concerns for employment conditions in the sector and have expressed the view that "The probable outcome is that some operators will be forced to lower the quality of their service and proceed with job cuts on a massive scale, which will have a negative impact on regional development and the economic and social cohesion of society."

"It is deeply disappointing that the Postal Directive is now to be enforced throughout member states, however now that we are faced with its imminent arrival we need to ensure the negative consequences of its introduction are minimised. The postal service in this state plays a crucial social and economic role. It is vital for the productivity of the economy and for social cohesion. The Irish governments' core objective must be to guarantee into the future that people have access to good quality postal services, regardless of where they live, at affordable prices.

"Sinn Féin's Submission to the Department outlines 4 key demands that we believe cannot be compromised on by the Irish government if we are to ensure a viable, equitable and affordable postal service. These demands are:

â–ª Transposition should be done in such a way that ensures that the financial viability of An Post, as the Universal Provider, is not undermined.

â–ª Transposition must guarantee the uniform quality of the postal universal service across the state in order to prevent parts of the population from being disadvantaged.

â–ª 'Cherry picking' of profitable sectors of the postal services by private operates must be prevented.

â–ª Working conditions, including wages, within the postal service must be protected." ENDS

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