New Zealand Post says it is committed to the creation of 180 new jobs in an expanded Manawatu Mail Centre over the next two years, despite conceding hundreds of jobs will be lost nationwide in mail delivery cuts.
"When it comes to Manawatu, when we announced we would shift from Wellington and grow Palmerston North, we made a commitment to the city," NZ Post external relations manager John Tulloch said yesterday.
"We have invested in the city of Palmerston North and that is the design we are going through with."
NZ Post's new Deed of Understanding with the Government will allow it to slash its six-day-a week delivery service to three days in urban areas and five in rural communities.
Beyond mid-2015, when NZ Post is entitled to implement the changes, nothing could be certain for the Manawatu centre, Mr Tulloch said.
"We haven't got actual detail on the impacts of reduced mail delivery at all, but when we do get to any frequency change we know there are going to be impacts on processing and delivery jobs long term."
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union's postal industry organiser Joe Gallagher said the Government changes to the deed had opened a "pandora's box" of uncertainty on the industry, but he hoped Manawatu workers could survive the cull.
"It really depends on just how much New Zealand Post want to pull the lever the Government has given them.
"They're certainly going to continue to process those volumes through the main centres, all of that stuff is still going to happen, but we've now got this big unknown as to how hard they want to go with shifts to deliveries.
"One would hope that the decline in mail that we've all heard about would level out, bottom out, at some point, but I don't want to speculate about whether the Manawatu centre would go before that happens."
The big job losses in the city could well be at NZ Post's stores around Manawatu, which may well be manned in future by automatic tellers, Mr Gallagher said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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