Crisis averted at Universal Postal Union
The UN agency coordinating postal systems worldwide narrowly averted at crisis at its 3rd Extraordinary Congress this week in Geneva. But after an all-night negotiation, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) adopted a new renumeration rate system that kept the United States in the organization.
The Trump administration had threatened to pull out of the UPU in October 2018, citing issues with China among other nations. UPU leadership called the United States’ withdrawal from the agency “a nightmare scenario.”
The compromise came following the Congress’ rejection of a previous option on the gathering’s first day. To reach a deal, the UPU’s International Bureau formed a special consultation group with 34 member countries representing diverse needs in the 192-member agency (small, big, high mail volume, developed, undeveloped, geographically difficult, etc.).
This group presented another option, Option V, during the second day. This option was presented as a single compromise and a single opportunity for accept wide-ranging terms and reforms as a single package.
The main objective of the compromise is to maintain the integrity of the UPU and build consensus for solutions to concerns raised over terminal dues. The new system, under Option V, will implement changes to fees in yearly steps. Self-declared rates will be possible as an opt-in by destination countries starting on 1 January 2021 on dual speed and accelerated implementation contribution. There will be no universal cap rates from 2021 on.
With the new agreement, the Universal Postal Union ensures that the United States will remain in the union, and with that, the maintenance of the functioning of the international postal network.
Cornelia Broos, Head of UNI Post & Logistics said about the deal:
UNI and our postal affiliates are relieved that, in the end, an agreement was reached which keeps the United States in the UPU and the postal network truly international,” said “This compromise is certainly not an ideal result for workers and citizens, but we believe it is the best that the UPU could achieve at this the moment.
UNI will evaluate the new system and look at potential effects on the postal workers globally. We have one year to develop and propose improvements at the regular UPU Congress in Abidjan in August 2020. UNI Global Union will represent workers and their interests in this process and will influence the decision makers at all level for having an acceptable solution at the table at the end.
UNI Global Union as member of the Consultative Committee of the UPU was present with a delegation as observer at the Congress in Geneva. The global union federation signed a cooperation agreement last year with the UPU.