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Growing opposition to Harper's postal cuts

Ritch Whyman

August 6, 2014

In the fall 96,000 houses will likely lose their door-to-door mail delivery, as Canada Post begins its process of slashing mail delivery and replacing it with “community mailboxes.” This will be followed in the spring with plans to cut tens of thousands of more houses from door to door delivery. These cuts will cost 6 – 8,000 jobs.
Across the country postal workers and allies have gone door to door, attended community events and held town halls to rally opposition to the dismantaling of the postal service. Actions have been held from Halifax to Hamilton and from small towns in Quebec to rural Alberta.
The drive to “reform” the Post office is part of an attempt to push austerity by privatization. Before the Post Office announced the cuts, Harper commissioned a study about privatisation of other postal services.
This is the second hidden study commissioned about Canada Post, the other was into the viability of using Canada Post as a banking service. This study showed that not only would that succeed, but that could help fund expanding delivery services.
In July members of the Canadian Union Postal Workers went door to door in Medicine Hat and Flin Flon explaining the effect of Canada Posts cuts and collecting signatures to oppose the cuts and job losses. In Halifax postal workers held banners and handed out leaflets against the cuts at major intersection in the city, and in Charlottetown postal workers joined the local Fisheries Festival handing out information.
The list of organisations and groups opposing the cuts continues to grow and expand.
The Canadian Association of Retired People vice-president Susan Eng exposed Canada Post and the Conservatives’ priorities, comparing the cuts to delivery for seniors with the millions of free postage used by MPs.: “For some people, this mail service is an essential service and if (Canada Post is) crying poor, then where are their priorities?” she said. “Is it to get the senior her pension cheque to her home, so that she doesn’t have to beg a friend to get it for her, which erodes her independence? Or, (is it) to make sure that MPs get to send their propaganda to us?”
Seventy city and municipal councils have passed motions opposing the cuts, and opposition has even come from usually Conservative heartlands like Oakville where the council adopted a motion calling for no cuts to service.
Stop Harper
With growing opposition to the cuts to delivery service and polls showing that 64 per cent of people oppose privatising the Post Office, the campaign to stop the cuts is a critical part of the fight to stop Harper in 2015.
Actions by the Postal Workers union are scheduled to continue with local events across the country. These are a great start but it will take more than local actions by postal workers to win this fight. We need co-ordinated days of action against these attacks across the country.
A defeat for the Harper agenda of cuts and austerity at the post office would raise the confidence of every fight back.
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