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Profit margins alone must not decide frequency of postal routes - Crowe

24 October, 2005

Sinn Fein spokesperson on communications, Sean Crowe TD today challenged Communications Minister Noel Dempsey on his contradictory position on An Post. Deputy Crowe said the Minister failed to show a full grasp of the facts concerning the dispute at An Post. Responding to comments he made at his party’s Ard fheis Deputy Crowe said, “The Minister must guarantee that profit margins alone will not decide the frequency of postal routes.”

Deputy Crowe said, “The Minister says that the government is bound by the recommendations of the Labour Court.  This is not true as the case was taken as non binding at the insistence of Management who openly stated they would not abide by the ruling should it not suit them.  Minister Dempsey is quite aware of this.

“Minister Dempsey then goes on to say that a postman’s pay has increased over the years due to the availability of overtime but fails to mention that this is because of An Post’s three year recruiting embargo during which time 600 people have left.  They will not recruit unless they can recruit on a no contract basis leaving the way open to bring in cheap foreign labour.  Rather bizarrely Minister Dempsey then goes on to talk about delays in the postal service occurring now as if this was somehow the union’s fault and not down to the recruitment embargo.

“The increased availability of overtime cited by the Minister as representing an increase in wages for the workers is a direct result of the recruitment embargo, and in fact represents a major strain on the workers. As for the Ministers claim that a postal worker can complete a seven and a half hour working day, in just three and a half hours, it contradicts the only study conducted on this matter ‘Proof of Concept’ which concluded that postal workers could more than justify their day’s work.  This study had been agreed to by both unions and management but was subsequently rejected by management.

“I note that he continues to talk about liberalisation.  This shows a lack of understanding of the social nature of the postal service.  It is a vital communication link with the outside world especially for the elderly, infirm or those living in isolated rural areas.  The minister must guarantee that profit margins alone will not decide the frequency of postal routes.” ENDS

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