On Tuesday 3 March, the Federal Government announced a regulatory change allowing two extra days to process reserved mail. Daily delivery of mail over five days a week has been protected by our campaign efforts for the foreseeable future.
The change to mail processing does not require legislation, but can be disallowed in the Senate if Labor, the Greens and some of the cross bench oppose it.
Australia Post had been seeking these and other changes for some time and we have with other stakeholders opposed the changes. The change to mail processing allows Australia Post to introduce a two speed mail service. “Fast speed” (currently the 70 cent stamp letter with guaranteed next day delivery in cities etc) will remain but will now cost (according to media reports) up to $1.50. “Slow speed” mail can take at least 2 more days to process. Australia Post has indicated that they are seeking a $1.00 stamp for this service. The ACCC has to approve some stamp prices and media reports indicate that the ACCC will take some time once the application is made.
What could it mean for jobs and your pay packet?
The purpose behind the Australia Post proposal is to move as much mail as it can to the slow speed. This allows Australia Post at least three days to process metro mail and more time in country areas to process mail. Mail can now be processed the next day. This will affect Delivery night sorting and mail processing positions. Australia Post has already begun seeking volunteers from night shift to move to the day shift. This means a reduction from 30% penalty shift to 15% or zero penalty shift allowances.
Mail processing in country areas could almost be eliminated as mail will be trucked to the capital city for processing. Our members in Townsville report that they have been told that all mail from Mackay to Cairns and inland can be trucked to Townsville. We would expect a similar approach south of Mackay. Northgate could process that mail and mail from northern NSW.
Other members report a proposal to reduce the number of delivery centres in Brisbane from 18 to 8 and change line-haul routes.
There are up to 1000 night sorting and mail processing positions in NSW that are under threat in metropolitan, rural and regional centres.
What are we doing?
We are seeking an urgent meeting with Australia Post National Mails and Delivery Management to work through the impacts that this decision will have on member’s job security and take home pay.
We will of course continue to work with other stakeholders to lobby Labor, Greens and Cross-Benches to disallow the changes, or to impose conditions to protect jobs and services. We would support a modest stamp price increase. The likely loss of jobs in country areas will worry some Government members.