NZ Post job losses a 'pre-cursor' of retail changes

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2014

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The loss of more than 100 jobs at New Zealand Post in Wellington is just a ‘‘pre-cursor’’, a union official warns, with changes coming soon to its retail business.

The state-owned enterprise yesterday made the first major job cut since it warned in November that up to 2000 positions would be axed in the next few years, as it reshapes the business to cope with lower mail volumes.

The closure of its call centre at Te Puni in Petone will see 44 jobs cut, while up to 70 ‘‘mainly in Wellington’’ will go in the finance team.

Consolidation of call centres will see 30 new positions created by expanding call centres in Auckland and Christchurch, and a spokeswoman for NZ Post said affected staff in Wellington would be offered relocation

But Joe Gallagher, spokesman for the EPMU union, said the option was ‘‘unrealistic for ordinary working people’’ and that news of the job cuts had left the affected staff in Petone ‘‘devastated’’.

‘‘They’re destroyed, they’re in tears,’’ Mr Gallagher said.

Last year NZ Post announced that mail processing 120 jobs would go at Te Puni as it cut its mail processing centres from six to three.

Mr Gallagher said it appeared that the capital was facing the brunt of job cuts and there was little strategy to create jobs outside of Auckland and Christchurch.

NZ Post’s statement last year made it clear that there would be a wave of job cut announcements, and Mr Gallagher predicted there would soon be changes made to its retail outlets, with private contractors replacing company employees.

‘‘This is a pre-cursor. We’re working with [NZ] Post, so one issue at a time, but they’ve sent a clear signal that we’re soon going to be talking to them about retail, Mr Gallagher said.

‘‘Basically, they’re contracting out a lot of their shops, and a lot of people are going to lose jobs out of the retail network.’’  

A spokeswoman for NZ Post said the announcement reflected the ‘‘harsh reality’’ faced by the company, as it struggled with a ‘‘rapid ongoing reduction in mail volumes’’.

The changes were aimed at reducing duplication ‘‘and share support services across the business’’.

The spokeswoman said its cost cutting programme would affect all parts of the country.

‘‘These jobs are in Wellington, but that’s not going to be the case all the way through. This is just the start of the process.’’

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The spokeswoman declined to comment on impending changes to the retail business.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for NZ Post confirmed chief executive Brian Roche would take two delegates from the EPMU and two from the Postal Workers’ Union to Europe next week.

They would visit Holland and Germany to look at developments in postal services there.


- The Dominion Post

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