THE NATIONAL Assembly coalition was split last night when the six Liberal Democrat AMs voted against an official Labour proposal to support proposed Whitehall changes to the postal system.
The Assembly will now tell Postcomm that it is opposed to the changes.
After the vote, a Labour AM said, "They are traitors to the coalition; once again the Liberal Democrats are working in opposition to a Labour policy."
Tories and Liberal Democrats joined to support a Plaid Cymru motion passed by 25 votes to 24 opposing support for Postcomm plans.
Peter Black, a Lib-Dem deputy minister, told yesterday's plenary session, "My party shares the concern of the Communications Work-ers' Union that the sorts of competition proposed by Post-comm will kill off door-to-door deliveries in difficult-to-get-to areas such as the countryside."
Mr Black also criticised the impact of Consignia's proposed cuts on post offices in Wales.
Dai Lloyd, of Plaid Cymru, said the UK Government proposals via Postcomm involved "complete liberalisation, meaning complete privatisation by April 1, 2006".
He said, "There are widespread fears that the UK government proposals leading to the rapid introduction of competition for postal services could result in a complete breakdown in the delivery of a universal service at a reasonable uniform price."
First Minister Rhodri Morgan said, "In postal terms, this raises the question of cherry picking. How do you continue to provide the universal service obligation at one price for the letter of the same weight right across the UK?"
At Westminster, 15 Welsh MPs condemned Consignia's management of "ignoring the needs of Wales".