Union speaks out against proposed NZ Post changes
Falling mail volume could lead to less delivery days for NZ Post
The union representing postal workers has spoken out against proposals to reduce mail deliveries to three days a week.
Several hundred posties and other frontline staff are set to lose their jobs if the Government signs off a New Zealand Post proposal to reduce the number of delivery days.
The company also wants to introduce more self-service kiosks.
Communications Minister Amy Adams released the proposal from the national postal service yesterday to allow "greater flexibility" in its services due to falling mail volumes.
The EPMU says it agrees that a more sustainable delivery schedule needs to be found in response to falling demand, but halving the number of delivery days isn't justified.
Prime Minister John Key however this morning said job losses were the result of a "dynamic" labour market, and NZ Post has to "turn a buck like any other business".
"The reality is that we've all changed our patterns – very few of us write letters to each other anymore, even sending cards is something we don't do as much. We don't pay our bills by getting an invoice in the mail as much, and so that is reduced by hundreds of millions the number of letters being sent.
"So yes, there is potentially going to be contraction in employment in that area."
He said the changes have been mooted for some time.
There are also concerns for the elderly if delivery days are cut, with Grey Power saying older members of society are being left behind as technology advances.
“We feel that that would just slow the timing of mail just a bit too much, especially into the smaller centres, says Grey Power national president Roy Reid.
"Mail to a lot of the elderly people is their main source of communication, they would probably see it as the loss of another government service.”
New Zealand Post is currently obliged to make deliveries six days a week under an agreement signed in 1998, and any changes to the system would require the Government's approval.
Last April, NZ Post chairman Michael Cullen wrote to State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall warning that steps to make "fundamental changes to our operational models" needed to take place to cut costs, or delivery days may have to be axed.
3 News / RadioLIVE