Finance Consumer ‘Hypocrisy’: Posties threatened with disciplinary action while corporate ‘volunteers’ praised

‘Hypocrisy’: Posties threatened with disciplinary action while corporate ‘volunteers’ praised

Australia Post has been accused of "hypocrisy", after posties were threatened with disciplinary action over photos. Photo: Australia Post
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From Pauline Hanson stubby holders to coronavirus service cuts and delivery delays, Australia Post continues to find itself at the centre of controversy despite making millions in pandemic profits.

Now the firm is being accused of hypocrisy over attempts to prevent posties exposing ongoing backlogs in delivery centres that they claim pose workplace safety hazards.

Australia Post workers in Victoria have been threatened with disciplinary action should they share photos of ongoing parcel backlogs at processing centres, The New Daily revealed last week.

For staff from Australia Post’s corporate headquarters “volunteering” as delivery drivers, though, it appears to be a very different story.

As frontline workers have been threatened with disciplinary action, corporate staff have been praised by Australia Post bosses for sharing photos of parcels and processing centres online while moonlighting as delivery drivers, The New Daily can reveal.

Photos shared publicly on corporate networking site LinkedIn show corporate staff and managers posing in processing centres and with parcels.

Photos posted by “volunteer” delivery drivers on LinkedIn attracted praise from bosses.

“Volunteering yesterday to deliver parcels was a great experience. Seeing the backlog volumes from one of many Australia Post pop-up sites really put it into perspective how fast consumer habits are shifting towards online,” one post read, alongside photos of a delivery centre and parcels piled up in the boot of a car.

Instead of threats of disciplinary action, the photos have garnered praise, receiving scores of ‘likes’ and positive comments from Australia Post corporate managers and staff.

“Hats off to those drivers that deliver triple or more of the volume that us enthusiastic volunteers did every day!” another post by a manager read alongside a photo inside a delivery centre.

Australia Post corporate staff have posted photos “volunteering” as delivery drivers. Photo: LinkedIn

Communications Workers Union Victorian state secretary Leroy Lazaro said the photos and positive comments posted by corporate staff and bosses expose a “double standard” within Australia Post.

“This is hypocrisy in its highest,” Mr Lazaro said.

“We know many people who have been warned and threatened about photo taking in the past … 100 per cent it’s a double standard where managers, or people in higher positions, are allowed to get away with stuff and postal delivery officers are being threatened for trying to expose the unsafe conditions they are working in.”

The New Daily asked Australia Post whether a double standard exists.

“Due to the potential for personal information to be visible in photographs of parcels and letters, and to protect our customers’ privacy, the photography of mail is prohibited other than when it is part of a delivery procedure such as when a parcel is safe dropped,” a spokesperson said.

“Where we become aware of photographs that have been taken of mail, the photographs will be reviewed to ensure personal information is not disclosed. Appropriate action will be taken where necessary.”

Why are ‘volunteers’ delivering your mail?

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Australia Post had put a call-out to staff in Victoria, seeking volunteers willing to take on extra delivery shifts and use their own cars to help clear the backlog of parcels.

“Like we do in the lead up to Christmas each year – we have put the call out to our Melbourne office team members to help us with our record volumes if they can,” an Australia Post spokesperson explained.

“We will reimburse our people for the use of their cars as per our usual mileage and expenses claim process.”

Tensions are mounting between Australia Post workers and management over parcel backlogs. Photo: Getty

About 200 staff in Melbourne expressed interest in “lend[ing] a hand to their front line colleagues to deliver for customers during one of our busiest periods ever”, the spokesperson said.

But the union representing postal workers slammed the move as a “band-aid fix”, and warned that Australia Post’s “resourcing failures” would result in further service impacts for customers.

The CEPU Communications Union called on Australia Post management to scrap its controversial coronavirus delivery service cuts, and “prioritise fixing ongoing issues with systemic underemployment in Australia Post”.

“There are hundreds of vacant delivery rounds across the country and under regulation changes which slash services to the public, posties are being directed to start later in the day – forcing them to leave parcels behind, or bring them back at the end of their shifts undelivered, every day across Victoria and the rest of the country,” the posties’ union president Shane Murphy said.

“The backlog exists because posties can simply not catch up.”

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