New Zealand Post began consultation last night with the more than 100 workers set to lose their jobs at the Waikato Mail Centre.
The job cuts were announced last June as part of a restructure that will see a total of 500 jobs go around the country.
At the time, NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche said the cuts were a response to falling mail volumes, with 200 million fewer items of mail processed in the past decade, down yearly by 8 per cent.
The company announced last June it would centralise its North Island operations in Auckland, with 129 jobs to go in Hamilton, 163 in Wellington, 73 in Dunedin and 133 in smaller centres.
It would expand its Auckland operation by 121 jobs, while the Palmerston North operation would gain 180 employees, and Christchurch about 75.
However, Waikato Mail Centre leader Murray Creighton said yesterday that the job losses were likely to be lower than initially indicated.
"This is due to a combination of attrition and having more roles based in Hamilton after the changes than first anticipated," he said.
"The consultation will take two weeks. Final job numbers will not be confirmed until some time after that."
He said the company was working to help staff through the change.
"We are supporting staff with our Future Zone programme which has been carefully designed to help people through career changes."
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) national industry organiser for communications Joe Gallagher said the organisation had received notice earlier this week that the consultation would start.
"We'll be working with the company to understand what the criteria is for those redundancies and what the timeline is around that," he said.
He said about 15 to 20 staff would keep their jobs, although they may not be fulltime jobs.
There was "quite a fluid timeline," as mail volume would gradually be transferred to Auckland.
"As they take volume out and upskill people in Auckland they will be draining people out of Waikato, so the timeline is quite fluid at the moment. But I expect in the next couple of months people will have some clarity on their future."
The EPMU has about 85 members at the Waikato Mail Centre, and Gallagher said it was "going to be extremely tough in this climate" for them to find new jobs.
He was unable to comment on how many people had found other work, or whether the EPMU or NZ Post had been able to find other work for people.
NZ Post has offered Waikato Mail Centre staff roles in the expanding mail centres. However, Gallagher said most people "won't be moving".
- Waikato Times