7 News Archive
Strike at the Post Office
By Ulli Diemer

Well, it’s strike time at the Post Office again, and I for one am sick and tired.

Fed up.

Fed up, that is, with the endless hysteria in all the media about the post office and postal workers.

To listen to the radio or read the Sun, you’d think that a postal strike was the end of the world.

At least.

I’d really like to know how many columnists and commentators are pulling in two or three times the pay of a postal worker to rant and rave about how awful it is.

You’d think that will all these high-powered instant experts about, you’d occasionally hear some hard facts and analysis about what’s what and why at the Post Office.

Fact that might help people to understand what some of the problems really are.

Like the fact that mail service has gotten worse because the quantity of mail has multiplied several times over in recent years. The number of postal workers hasn’t, so sorters and letter carriers have a lot more mail to sort and deliver.

Or the fact that 90 per cent of all mail is business mail, not letters. With the proportion still rising. And most of that business mail is junk mail. Advertising flyers addressed “to the householder”.

The fact is that it’s the tremendous proliferation of business and junk mail that is largely responsible for swamping the post office. The reason is that postal rates are set so that “to the householder” flyers are one of the cheapest forms of advertising there is. Meanwhile, letter rates keep going up and up. In effect, the ordinary taxpayer is subsidizing the large corporate advertisers.

None of this gets mentioned in the news stories, of course. All you get is a lot of sob stories, like the one during the last postal strike of the old lady who was reduced to reading old letters because she wasn’t getting any mail. (Long-distance telephone rates are too expensive for pensioners, but you don’t hear anything about that, of course.) Nor do you hear anything about the people who suffer most from a strike, the people actually striking.

All you get to hear in the media about the Post Office is an endless barrage of propaganda. Sponsored by the people who want us to get our junk mail and our bills faster ... I’m tired of it.

Published in Seven News, October 21, 1978 (Volume 9, Number 12).