The striking stevedores who oppose every reform and change, who have kept 60 ships waiting outside the ports and caused damage to the economy, have captured the headlines. On the other hand, no one hears the voices of the postal workers who are experiencing a revolution right now.
They did not go on strike, did not cause damage, but proved it is possible to achieve something without damaging the nation's economy. Last week, the Knesset's Economics Committee approved opening up the postal market from January 2006.
The process was started two years ago by Amir Levy, deputy budgets director. He hired the international consulting firm McKenzie which recommended that the monopoly of the Postal Authority be ended. In September 2003, the reform was approved by law and since then it has been in the hands of the Knesset committee.
The workers committee, representing 6,000 postal employees, explained to the Knesset committee that they had dozens of representatives in both Labor and Likud's central committees. The MKs got the hint and began competing for the favors of the workers. That is how the workers got several achievements such as an added rank from next December, a grant of two salaries, an agreement, still to be signed, to fix their rights, and NIS 450 million toward their pensions.
By the end of this year, the Postal Authority is expected to become a government company. It will gradually open up to competition from private companies - the competition will be for large bulk mail from large institutions like banks, electricity and water companies.
In the ports, they wanted to remain a monopoly. In the case of the postal system, its director-general Yossi Shelly, understands the importance of competition.
The next stage should be privatization. There is no reason why the state has to deliver the mail.
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