Australia Post’s shift from a daily mail delivery service to once every two days will cost one in four employees their jobs, the communications union has warned.
And the remaining positions could face a pay cut of up to 30%, according to the Communications Electrical & Plumbing Union.
Australia Post has received the green light from the federal government to switch to an alternate-day mail delivery model, which the agency says is a temporary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It plans to start a trial in a few weeks in parts of Canberra and Melbourne, before moving to a national model for all metropolitan areas.
The temporary change – which will expire in June 2021 – would provide the flexibility to redeploy Australia Post’s workforce to other areas of the business where their help was most needed, a spokesperson said.
But the union accused Australia Post of using the coronavirus pandemic “as a shameless and sneaky vehicle to speed up a program to cut essential public postal services,” and cut wages and conditions and attack the security of employment.
Australia Post says the volume of letters it processes continues to decline steadily.
And, although demand for parcel delivery skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown, postings were limited to the number of packages they could carry on their motorcycles, he says.
Some 2,000 positions will be reassigned to vans or redeployed to other areas of the company, the spokesperson said.
In accordance with universal service obligation legislation, delivery to rural and regional areas of Australia will not be affected by the changes.
Australia Post says the union’s demands are speculative.
“No position directly impacted by the implementation of the changes will be forced to accept a dismissal,” he said in a statement.
“Australia Post also does not intend to reduce the take-home pay for postal workers.”
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