Labor pushes to overturn Australia Post's delivery changes

Anthony Albanese and Labor Eden-Monaro candidate Kristy McBain speak to NSW/ACT CEPU representatives Dennis Williams and Cade Anderson. Picture: Karleen Minney
Anthony Albanese and Labor Eden-Monaro candidate Kristy McBain speak to NSW/ACT CEPU representatives Dennis Williams and Cade Anderson. Picture: Karleen Minney

Australia Post has hit back at union claims that changes to delivery schedules will cost jobs, with the Communications Minister accusing Labor of a scare campaign over the issue.

Australia Post implemented changes in April that cut letter delivery services in metro areas from daily to every second day, a move it says is necessary to keep up with coronavirus-induced parcel demand.

Labor is seeking to disallow the legislation in the Senate and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union estimate one in four postal worker jobs could go under the new system which has led thousands of workers to be redeployed to cope with climbing parcel demand.

Australia Post has rejected the claims and said no postie will be forced out of work and there were no plans to cut pay.

"Unfortunately there has been a range of false claims made about the temporary changes to our regulations. We are not forcing 2,000 of our valued posties into redundancies," Chief Executive Christine Holgate said.

"Union claims as many as one in four postie jobs will be impacted are false. We have many more delivery rounds than we do posties and we are confident given early expressions of interest, a large portion of our workforce will want to transition to the growth area of the business."

On Thursday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the party would support a disallowance motion in the Senate to overturn the changes implemented by the government in April which are currently due to end in June 2021.

"These cuts are to jobs, these cuts are to services that are absolutely essential," he said.

"In particular, older Australians really rely upon their postal services."

Mr Albanese claimed the government was using the crisis as an excuse and criticised the regulatory changes implemented without public debate.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Karleen Minney

Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Karleen Minney

"This is a government that should be using this period to think about how they can create jobs, instead they're looking at how jobs will be cut."

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher hit back over the claims.

"Another byelection, another baseless ALP scare campaign," he tweeted.

A spokeswoman for the minister said the changes would lead to 600 new roles created and 2000 posties retrained.

Under the new model which was adopted from May 16, more posties would move to vans and warehouses, priority letter services would be suspended, letter deliveries moved to every second day, and five days would be allowed for intrastate posting.

An Australia Post spokeswoman said the temporary changes would allow it to re-focus the workforce and keep posties in the job.

"Under these changes, posties who are directly affected will have a choice to be re-trained and deliver in a van," she said.

CEPU NSW/ACT branch official Dennis Williams said Australia Post had already started to cater for increased parcel demand and was using the coronavirus pandemic to "try and cut down the staff to make more profit."

Electric delivery vehicles, recently rolled out in Canberra, were part of that transition, Mr Williams said.

Branch official Cade Anderson said there was angst and concern among members who weren't sure if they would keep their job.

"When they've been the forefront essential service workers during the pandemic to then turn around and be treated in this way is nothing but disgusting," he said.

This story Minister hits back at Labor Australia Post push first appeared on The Canberra Times.