Unions representing over two million post and logistics workers around the world united to build worker power and commit to strengthening postal services at the UNI Post&Logistics World Conference this week.
More than 300 participants, including representatives from 85 unions in 60 countries, joined the “Connecting People to Deliver the Future” virtual meeting from 25 to 27 May.
The conference adopted an ambitious four-year strategic plan to fight postal liberalization and defend a strong public postal service; support incentives to diversify and strengthen postal services; promote a green and sustainable industry; protect jobs in the face of new technologies and digitalization; and stand up for decent wages and working conditions as e-commerce transforms the post and logistics sector.
Coming after a year in which postal services and workers have proven essential during the pandemic, post has also witnessed a dramatic drop in mail and a considerable growth in parcel volumes, combined with increasing technological transformation.
“New technologies and digitalization have and will impact postal work in the future. Postal unions must adapt their collective bargaining strategies to address these new technologies, to tackle these critical issues which will define our future,” said UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman.
The conference endorsed a motion pledging to help secure trade union rights at Amazon globally and calling on trade union affiliates to support efforts to organize workers.
Participants also backed motions defending peace, democracy and human and trade union rights in Colombia, Myanmar and Palestine.
The conference also endorsed actions to ensure decent and good working conditions for workers across P&L through extended collective bargaining coverage, social dialogue, organizing, GFAs and Due Diligence processes in multinational companies. Greater cooperation on holding multinationals accountable was a key subject of an address by Noel Coard from the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
The conference, which had been due to take place in Dakar, featured a message from Yankhoba Diatara, Minister of Digital Economy and Telecommunications in Senegal. He emphasized the importance of social dialogue as a means to developing joint strategies to improve services and expand activities in the postal sector.
Siva Somasundram, from the Universal Postal Union – the United Nations agency for post – also acknowledged that the success of post depends on valuing and supporting postal workers, which drives the UPU’s close engagement with UNI Global Union.
Guest speakers Botond Szebeny from PostEurop and Walter Trezek from UPU’s Consultative Committee also joined the conference for a discussion on the critical topic of e-commerce, while participants also heard from Jacqueline Kalbermatter from the University of Basel who presented on a UNI-commissioned study on the impact of digitalization on employment in the P&L sector.
In other areas, the conference elected a fifth Vice President, Victoria Felisberto from SINTAC postal union in Mozambique, and agreed to nominate a youth representative to the UNI P&L World Committee.
Finally, Dave Ward, General Secretary of the CWU in the UK, was re-elected World President. He highlighted the urgent need for unions to step up to the pressing challenges in the postal sector to defend jobs, rights and services in the coming years.
“International solidarity has never been more important. The trade union movement has a key role in uniting working people across the world to get a new deal for workers.”
Take a look back at the discussion on Twitter following the hashtag #DeliverTheFuture.