Nelson jobs go in NZ Post cutback
Nelson standard post letters being sent to local addresses will go to Christchurch and back under New Zealand Post changes that will see more than 20 mail processing jobs go.
The processing of standard mail will end in Nelson from December 9.
"We are working through with the 24 people affected, most of whom have part-time roles," said an NZ Post spokesman.
The net change in fulltime employee equivalent roles would be about 10, but there was a greater number of part-time roles.
The change means a standard letter posted in Nelson to go to another Nelson address, which now gets there the next day, will instead take two or three days because it will be sent to Christchurch for processing and back to Nelson.
"We have trucks going from Nelson to Christchurch already, so no extra cost is incurred processing standard mail at a different location," said the NZ Post spokesman.
NZ Post's mail centre in Gloucester St will remain open and will continue to sort inward and outward fastpost and international priority mail, and posties will continue to work out of the centre.
If someone posting a letter across town in Nelson needs it to be delivered the next day they will need to send it by fastpost, so it will be processed through the Nelson centre. A standard letter costs 70c while a fastpost letter costs $1.40.
Joe Gallagher, postal industry organiser for the EPMU, said he did not believe the changes were justified, and it would hard to find new jobs in regional centres such as Nelson.
Yesterday the Government announced NZ Post's new deed of understanding, which sets out the minimum standards for service delivery of the state-owned enterprise.
As widely expected, urban delivery frequency is being slashed, from six days a week to at least three days.
Rural services will be protected, after heavy lobbying that smaller, more remote, communities were more reliant on post than those in larger areas.
Postal Workers Union president John Maynard estimated last night that up to half of NZ Post's
2000 workers could lose their jobs.
Communications Minister Amy Adams said mail volumes were dropping by about 8 per cent a year and, without substantial change, NZ Post would need tens of millions of dollars in annual subsidies in a few years.
"Our view is this needs to be a business that's sustainable on its own two feet," Ms Adams said, adding that changes to the way most people received services made daily post delivery less essential.
"If you stop and think about when the last time was that you got a letter that couldn't have waited one more day, it's pretty hard to think of it. The reality is most of what we receive now is received through alternative means."
Rural areas relied on the postal service for the timely delivery of goods such as spare parts and vet supplies, while contractors who delivered the mail also delivered items such as newspaper and milk.
"They [the contractors] are making it clear that the viability of their independent businesses is affected not only by the amount of post they carry but also the other services they provide."
The new agreement will also allow NZ Post to operates hundreds of self-service kiosks, instead of post shops where customers deal directly with staff.
NZ Post is required to retain at least 880 "service points" where customers can buy basic postal services. But only 240 of these are required to offer broader postal services and personal assistance.
NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche said the new deed marked a minimum services requirement, and the number of self-service kiosks would probably not exceed 150. He was conscious some customers did not like self-service.
He admitted the changes would inevitably mean its workforce would shrink by "hundreds", but declined to give details ahead of talks with unions. "We're not going to try and fudge it, though. These will be significant."
Yesterday's announcement came with little warning - Mr Roche said he had been informed only in the morning, meaning he did not wear a tie to work.
Mr Gallagher said the union received a letter from Ms Adams' office on Tuesday, saying there was no timeframe for a decision or announcement on the agreement.
"It's not good enough for the minister of communications to claim 'negotiations are still ongoing with New Zealand Post' and the next day announce she is giving them everything they've asked for."
- © Fairfax NZ News