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Union charges NZ Post with “serious misconduct”

Union charges NZ Post with “serious misconduct” over mail delays

The latest report of standard letters taking up to 2 weeks to be delivered across the country has led the Postal Workers Union to charge NZ Post with serious misconduct. This is the same charge that the company can lay against its own employees for the “non delivery of deliverable mail” – serious misconduct under the “Conduct and Performance Expectations” of the posties’ Collective Employment Contract. A postie can be dismissed for failure to meet the company’s performance expectations.

NZ Post has begun to instruct posties in some branches to give priority to the delivery of parcels and to bring back undelivered letters at the end of their working day. The Union is getting reports from posties who are upset that they are bringing letters back to the office which can lead to delays of several days. Any news media reports of mail service failures usually brings pages of overwhelmingly negative comments about NZ Post.

The Union will be seeking an investigation into how the company’s introduction of new four wheel electric delivery vehicles may have contributed to increased amounts of letter mail failing to meet the company’s service standards.

The Union recognises the steady decline in letter volumes with the change from traditional letter mail to electronic communication. However it is one thing for NZ Post to adjust to declining mail volumes, it is quite another for the company to act in a manner which will ensure mail volumes decline even further.

The Union has consistently challenged the company’s actions in steadily running down its letter mail service. First the change from next day across town delivery to three days, then the trumpeting of the change to alternate day delivery, then the slowing down of redirecting the company’s own machine missorts, and the reduction in targets for the delivery of fastpost mail. Against some strong local opposition NZ Post has also removed wave after wave of road side posting boxes including during last year’s Local Body postal voting.

The Union believes this is a process of privatisation by stealth.

We were astounded to hear this month that the Board of NZ Post is surprised at how well the company is performing collectively.

Just as a charge of serious misconduct against a postie would be investigated by the management, the Union believes the charge of misconduct against the company should be investigated at the highest level – by the state owned enterprises’ shareholding ministers who represent the interests of the general public.

The Union will be writing this week to the shareholding ministers, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, advising that the Union has information to assist in its investigation of a charge of serious misconduct.

In the meantime the Union believes NZ Post should abandon its price increases due on 1 July until the company can regain the confidence of the public in its postal delivery network and can consistently meet its own, somewhat eroded, service standards.

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