Getting through lockdown by shopping online? If the item is being shipped from Melbourne, prepare to wait a little longer.
Australia Post has warned customers to expect delays when ordering online, as it takes a five-day catch-up hiatus.
The service’s pause on retail parcel pickups from metropolitan Melbourne will run from 12.01am October 1 until 12.01am October 6 (AEST).
Australia Post said it was forced to put the brakes on due to record high demand and a workforce reduced by Victoria’s Delta outbreak.
The move is designed to clear a record volume of parcels through centres hit by major COVID-19 disruptions, it said in a statement.
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The company said on Tuesday that almost 200 of its Melbourne workers had been forced in self-isolation due to coronavirus measures.
It comes as Australia Post ramps up recruitment, with thousands of jobs advertised to help meet the unprecedented delivery demand.
Meanwhile, parcel volume has hit peaks usually reserved for the Christmas period, it said.
“The safety of our people is our highest priority, one which we will not compromise on,” Australia Post said.
The hiatus will include standard parcel post and eParcel pickups from online retailers across greater Melbourne.
It is the second time deliveries have been halted, with a similar pause for four days in early September for ACT, NSW and Victoria.
Australians had already faced long waits for parcel deliveries, as Australia Post – which also owns StarTrack – struggled under the pressure of a lockdown-induced online shopping blitz.
It has been good for the retail sector, which predicts a boom leading up to Christmas, but has placed extra pressure on the postal system.
As reported by The New Daily, up to 2000 StarTrack employees went on strike last week in a dispute about pay and conditions.
The 24-hour industrial action was taken after negotiations between the company and the Transport Workers Union failed to reach a solution.
During the pause announced Tuesday, express post and StarTrack will operate as usual.
This could be an ideal opportunity to support a regional business doing it tough, with pickups to continue undisrupted for retailers in country Victoria.
Australia Post said collections from businesses in all other states and from street post boxes across Victoria will be unaffected.
Deliveries will continue and post offices will remain open for all usual business.
Letters, Express Post, StarTrack Premium, StarTrack Courier, Startrack Express, domestic and international letters remain unchanged, as does processing for all international inbound and outbound deliveries.