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NZ Post goes from "raising the bar" to lowering the boom

Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa
News media statement
26 June 2013

NZ Post goes from "raising the bar" to lowering the boom

Company posters on the walls of its worksites exhorts New Zealand Post employees to "raise the bar". However New Zealand Post's announcement today of job losses in its mail processing operations sees instead of the bar being raised, the boom being lowered, not only on 500 of its employees, but also on cross town next day delivery. The Postal Workers Union is concerned that the company's action may generate a further decline in mail volumes.

The Government is currently giving consideration to NZ Post's request to have its Deed of Understanding with the Government changed to provide the option at some future date of reducing to every second day delivery. However while the PWUA recognises the changes facing NZ Post the union wants first to see the removal of the unfair advantage given to private mail operators which are able to "cherry pick" the most profitable cross town and CBD mail from the postal service.

NZ Post is obliged to maintain a Universal Service Obligation - to provide standard letter mail delivery throughout the country with a uniform rate - currently 70 cents. There is no requirement for private mail operators to provide a universal service.

The PWUA had written to 121 Members of Parliament earlier this month seeking support for the amendment of clause 17of the Deed of Understanding. The clause requires NZ Post to carry that portion of its competitors' which the competitors do not feel is profitable for them to deliver.

The PWUA will be meeting with NZ Post to discuss the future job prospects of those employees who chose to leave before being made redundant. They will face an employment market with jobs paying $13.75 an hour and the possibility of being fired without notice within 90 days. For the first time in their working lives those who are successful in gaining other employment will probably not have the protection of a Collective Employment Agreement. The Government's planned changes to the Employment Relations Act will further tip the balance against their chances of secure and stable employment with a sustainable income.

NZ Post workers who attended the briefings over the past 24 hours were "hugely shocked" about the prospect of losing their jobs - some with decades of service - and very unhappy about the prospects of getting another job.

The PWUA has also pointed out to the company the wider context of the redundancies. The Minister of State Owned Enterprises Tony Ryall has told the NZ Post board that he expects "improved results" in terms of dividends to the Government. The union is concerned pressure from the Government to maintain the revenue stream to the Government may be causing a compromise of service - and a low wage offer in the current Collective Employment Agreement negotiations.


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