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Union demands hire more drivers rather than piling more work on the ones they have

Postal e-Bulletin 2013 - #5

  1. EBA8 website launched
  2. EBA8 negotiations continue this week
  3. Payroll problems
  4. Political action part of the union agenda for EBA8
  5. Commencement of Decipha EBA negotiations
  6. Northern Tasmania's express post services reinstated
  7. Workers Memorial Day 2013 - ‘Unions make work safer’
  8. Australia Post wants to control employees on social media
  9. Union demands hire more drivers rather than piling more work on the ones they have
  10. Postal service chases competition, tracking packages and workers

1.EBA8 website launched

To make sure that all members can keep up to date and play their part in the EBA8 campaign the union has launched a dedicated EBA8 campaign website –

Sign up today to receive regular campaign updates and tell Ahmed it's time to deliver a decent pay rise.

If you have already signed up don't forget to remind your work colleagues, family and friends to sign up as well.

2.EBA8 negotiations continue this week

A number of items were discussed this week but one item of particular focus was the Authorised Holiday that is currently taken by all staff around the Christmas /New Year period.

Post has indicated they want members to take this as an extra day’s annual leave during the year and be able to roster you on to work on this day during the Christmas/New Year period. Post state that this is due to increasing customer demand around the New Year period.

Your Union has reminded Post that this extra day off during the festive season is for two reasons:

  1. It is an acknowledgement of the extra hard work you put in over the November to December period to ensure everyone’s Christmas cards and gifts are delivered in a timely and proper manner.
  2. You are not able to take any leave in December due to operational requirements.

Your Union feels that any move to change the timing and entitlement to the Authorised Holiday during the festive season would, over time, diminish the reason for it and potentially it could be lost forever in future EBAs.

Post were also reminded that it is already hard enough to get annual leave days off over the year and to throw what will be an extra 30,000 annual leave days into the mix would not make it any easier!

Send us an email at with your thoughts.

3.Payroll problems

During the EBA8 discussions we have raised the issue of overpayments, underpayments and delayed payments. We also raised cases where bank charges are incurred because Post has not paid salary or penalties into the member's account. Post has advised that the following is their current policy:

1. If an employee incurs a bank penalty because of a fault by Post, Post will refund the penalty to the employee.

2. If any overpayment extends beyond 12 months, any overpayment more than 12 months old will not be recovered.
3. If a member establishes hardship, repayment will not exceed 5% of the members pay.

If you incur a bank penalty because of a fault by Post, or an overpayment, then contact your CWU Branch.

4.Political action part of the union agenda for EBA8

Letters and representations to government ministers and other members of parliament are part of the union’s EBA8 campaign. While political action is not sufficient to secure a better standard of living and the job security of postal workers, it can bring a stronger political and social dimension to our campaign.

CWU shop steward at Preston DC, Gregory Jewell, recently wrote to Adam Bandt and received the following reply.

Dear Gregory

Thank you for your letter about your experiences working for Australia Post and as a shop steward there. Richard Di Natale and Christine Milne also acknowledged your letter and forwarded it to my office to respond as the Greens Workplace Relations portfolio holder.

I share your concerns in the treatment and situation of Australia Post staff. As you may know, prior to being elected to the seat of Melbourne, I worked as an industrial lawyer representing low paid workers and a number of Victorian unions, therefore I'm very familiar with the problems you describe.

Please keep me informed about your situation at Australia Post, and those of your fellow employees, and let me know what I can do to help regarding the Australia Post EBA negotiations. I'll also keep in touch with your State Secretary Joan Doyle.

Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention.

Yours Sincerely,

Adam Bandt MP

Federal Member for Melbourne

Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens

5.Commencement of Decipha EBA negotiations

The CWU and Decipha met on 27th March to discuss how the negotiations for a new Decipha Enterprise Agreement would be progressed and the time frames the parties would be working towards prior to beginning formal bargaining.

The expiry date for the Decipha Enterprise Agreement is 30th June 2013.  We are seeking to have a new EBA in place the next day - from 1st July 2013.

Decipha management identified some key challenges facing the business including, declining revenues as a result of the loss of couple of important clients in 2012 and 2013. On the other hand the expectation for 2014 is that revenue will come back to previous levels as Decipha secures important new clients.

The union’s response was that Decipha should acknowledge that workers took a modest wage increase last EBA and that they were seeking a substantially better outcome this time. The bargaining commences in earnest on the 19th April.

6.Northern Tasmania's express post services reinstated

Community outrage, and intense government and community lobbying following Australia Post’s decision to cut next business day deliveries to Northern Tasmania seems to have prevailed with Post’s latest announcement that both inbound and outbound express post services will be re-instated.

Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said he and Bass Labor MHR Geoff Lyons worked closely with Australia Post to ensure the concerns of residents and businesses were addressed.

"I am pleased that Australia Post has listened to the people of Northern Tasmania, taken their concerns seriously, and put in place a workable solution," he said.

7.Workers Memorial Day 2013 - ‘Unions make work safer’

Workers Memorial Day 2013 - ‘Unions make work safer’Worldwide, hundreds of thousands die in workplace “accidents”. Millions die of occupational diseases.  Every year.

The 28th April is International Workers Memorial Day – the day unions worldwide pledge to ‘Remember the dead – fight for the living’.  That can best be done is by building trade union organisation in workplaces and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws. Eliminating myths of the careless worker and dodgy safety programs are also important.

‘Unions make work safer’ is the global theme for 28th April 2013 - because the actual WMD falls on a Sunday this year, where possible, events and activities in Australia will occur on Monday, 29 th April this year. 

What can you do?

  • Join events happening in your area -ask your union branch or trades and labour council what is happening in your area?
  • Get together with some of your workmates and organise something such as planting a memorial tree in a public place, distributing purple forget-me-not ribbons - the symbol of Workers’ Memorial Day.
  • If you are working on the 28th or 29th April then organise a minute’s silence in your workplace.
  • Take up local health and safety issues in your workplace with the HSR and the union delegate.
  • Talk to non members about joining the union to make the workplace safer.
  • Talk to your union branch about electing Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) for your work group.
  • Contact your union branch to attend union HSR training.

8.Australia Post wants to control employees on social media

The use of social media by employees is to come under closer scrutiny at Australia Post with the development of a new social media policy that employees will be expected to comply with. The union will again comment on the proposed policy just as we did when social media was introduced into AP’s Our Ethics document.

In the meantime while we strongly believe that an employee has a right to privacy it is worth noting as a precaution that the internet is not a free for all and you may be held to scrutiny for anything that you post online.

9.Union demands hire more drivers rather than piling more work on the ones they have

Union demands hire more drivers rather than piling more work on the ones they haveAs Australia Post expands its parcels operations it is useful to look at overseas postal services and parcel companies to see what issues their workers are facing particularly, as we try to bargain for rewarding work for postal workers that will bring new skills and decent pay and benefits.

UPS, the world’s largest parcel delivery company, made $4.38 billion last year. But the union says UPS made record profits in a recession by using harassment and technology to squeeze more work out of a shrinking full-time workforce, hence the union is fighting to reduce harassment and excessive overtime and make UPS create more full-time jobs instead of working members to death.

The company's tight control of drivers makes them nearly as regimented as workers on an assembly line. Every second of a driver’s day is monitored through GPS devices.

Supervisors know what time a driver got out of his truck to deliver a package, how long it took to get the customer’s signature, and how long to drive to the next stop and more. Managers are taking decision-making out of the driver’s hands.

Drivers are buried in overtime. Eleven and 12-hour days are common. The part-time workers who load and unload the trucks are also subject to harassment, both “work faster” pestering and pressure not to report injuries.  Workers say a lot of their equipment is really unsafe, for a billion-dollar company.

UPS has forecast that its already beefy profits will rise 6 to 12 percent this year. Meanwhile at well attended rallies held around the country the union has reiterated its pledge not to make concessions in the current bargaining negotiations. (Source: Labour Notes)

10.Postal service chases competition, tracking packages and workers

Postal service chases competition, tracking packages and workersLetter carriers will soon be tracked (like UPS drivers,) as the U.S. Postal Service beefs up money-makers like parcel delivery and cuts less profitable services (e.g. delivering personal letters 6 days a week).

A new program uses Bluetooth-enabled cell phones to report carriers’ progress. The program links a cell phone carried by employees with the handheld scanner each letter carrier already totes around. The scanner records deliveries (or attempts) by scanning bar codes on certain packages. Now the phone will send scanner data every 15 minutes for analysis.

The rationale is to offer postal customers’ real-time tracking of packages. But basically it gives management real-time ability to track workers.

Work surveillance, however, isn't about catching a few slackers; it's about speeding up the whole workforce. As labor educator Charley Richardson explains, “Managers monitor to gather data and then analyze the work process and intensify it. They use data to cut corners, speed workers up, increase stress, and eliminate jobs.”

This type of micro-management is coming our way as new tracking technologies are progressively introduced to compete in package delivery. While we must add new services to complement the delivery of parcels we cannot leave the business and the quality of our jobs to Post managers. (Source: Labour Notes)

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