Large scale job losses at Australia Post’s Morwell regional mail centre are unlikely, according to the postal workers’ union, who say the operation has already inflicted its share of redundancies in the past.
Earlier this week the Communication Workers Union went to the media with concerns AP would centralise regional mail sorting duties at key Melbourne sites, raising questions about the future of about 30 positions at the Gippsland Mail Centre in Morwell.
However CWU Victorian secretary Joan Doyle has since told The Express position losses at GMC were unlikely to occur, as Morwell’s sorting duties for Latrobe Valley, West and South Gippsland mail had already been outsourced to Dandenong in 2009, forcing 10 redundancies at the time.
The Morwell site has continued to sort mail originating from the Sale and Bairnsdale areas, an arrangement Ms Doyle believed would continue through the upcoming overhaul, as it would prove too costly to transfer to Dandenong due to the freight distances involved.
Australia Post issued a media statement confirming the organisation was currently exploring a range of cost saving measures to offset a $185 million loss in its mail business last financial year, however it ruled out making any forced redundancies.
“One option that is being explored is shifting non-local country letters processing to major regional and metro centres to create greater efficiencies,” the statement read.
“We are working through the detail with employees and the union to better understand the full impact, as such it is far too early to talk about potential impacts on individuals, regardless of the final impact.
“This will not impact on our overall ability to meet the standard of 94 per cent of letters delivered on time.”
However Ms Doyle said local letters delivered up to two days after being posted would still be considered ‘on time’ by Australia Post.
“Currently mail from regional areas comes back (from sorting centres) for delivery on the next day, and they’ve been maintaining next day delivery for 45 years,” Ms Doyle said.
“It would be crazy in this day and age to slow down regional and rural delivery times to save money – they say they have lost money in the mail business, but they made an overall $300 million profit last year.
“It would be really unfair for regional people – it would have a pretty bad impact on local businesses and their productivity.”
Despite the assurances of “no forced redundancies”, Ms Doyle said there was still significant concerns at the Morwell centre, as it was already understaffed and under pressure, and needed another three mail sorters to handle the current workloads.
“I was in Morwell meeting with the workers last night until 1am, they were a bit apprehensive about what will happen now, and what affect this would have on their take home pay if they were forced to reduce working hours,” she said yesterday.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester did not return a call from The Express about the issue.