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The Contracting Model Is Wrong For NZ Post

E tū is disappointed with NZ Post’s decision to move mail delivery into the parcel network, which will mean workers are moved to a contracting model.

NZ Post announced the details of the plan today, which is a response to declining mail volumes.

Postal worker and E tū delegate in Dunedin, Terry Howells, says workers are upset by the changes.

“I think it’s the end of an era for post itself, and people are quite downtrodden about it,” Terry says.

“A lot of posties took this job because it’s a good lifestyle, and this will be a major disruption to that. I can’t see it working in the long run.

“Being directly employed comes with all the employee benefits we’ve built up over time. I don’t think contractors are treated well here at all, the contracts are tough. Going into that side would be horrible, really. We can see it leading to exploitation, particularly for migrants.”

Terry says that affected workers are still looking for answers.

“It’s difficult to know what the next steps will be, we need more concrete information. The company needs to be a bit more upfront on what direction they’re going in. That’s a crucial part of the transition ahead.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Joe Gallagher, says NZ Post contracting out mail delivery will make them disconnected from the community.

“Having directly employed posties not only gives workers better protections, it also means NZ Post has a real stake in all parts of the delivery of the services,” Joe says.

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“Passing the buck to a network of contractors means we’ll see a ‘race to the bottom’ with perverse incentives to make the most money, not deliver the best service. We see examples of this across many different industries.

“Mail delivery volume might be declining, but a robust network remains a core part of our society’s infrastructure.”

Joe says that while the union continues to oppose these changes, E tū and NZ Post are both committed to a ‘just transition’ for affected workers.

“The good news is that due to a long history of strong union membership, NZ Post workers are in a better position to shape their own future and all parties can work together to minimise the harm to affected workers.

“When people lose their jobs, or their jobs become more precarious, it affects the whole community. We’ve been proud of the work we have done in the past to ensure workers who are affected by changes in the post system are on the best footing possible, for example by helping them into new work through the E tū Job Match programme.”

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