Posties’ jobs will be guaranteed during the pandemic after their union and Australia Post struck a deal amid fears thousands of jobs were at risk under proposed changes.
Under the deal, letters will be delivered only every second day in metropolitan areas – a change that will allow thousands of posties to be redeployed to deliver and process parcels.
No posties, or other directly affected employees, will be made redundant involuntarily during the period of the agreement, which expires in August 2021.
There will be no protected or unprotected industrial action during the period.
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Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate said the agreement would provide certainty as coronavirus impacts the business.
“No posties will be removed from the delivery service and we have been encouraged by the strong response from people wanting to move across to parcel delivery,” she said on Tuesday.
She said the union also had acknowledged it was necessary to temporarily switch letter deliveries to every second day to safeguard the business.
Australia Post had previously denied claims by the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union that the changes put up to a quarter of its jobs at risk and posties faced pay cuts of up to 30 per cent.
On Tuesday, CEPU national president Shane Murphy said the deal was a win for workers on the frontline of the pandemic.
“This agreement will ensure no posties are removed from the delivery employment mix – something we have fought hard for – protecting jobs and improving parcel delivery services to our communities,” he said.
Staff working in processing and transporting mail under temporary delivery changes will also have their jobs protected.
Frontline workers will be paid a “thank you” bonus to recognise extra effort and risk during the pandemic.
Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said the government had capitulated a day before a Senate inquiry into the issue was due to start.
“While Labor welcomes today’s victory, the fact remains mail delivery frequency to seven million Australian households is still being cut at a time when revenues are increasing,” he said.