Furious posties have slammed Australia Post’s replacement for Christine Holgate in an “unprecedented” petition that calls for an end to the firm’s controversial coronavirus service cuts.
The petition seen by The New Daily hits back at claims made by Australia Post’s acting chief executive Rodney Boys in Senate Estimates last week.
Mr Boys said he’s been hearing ‘positive’ things from customers and posties.
The petition – signed by 85 per cent of Melbourne’s posties – says otherwise.
It describes Australia Post’s service cuts as an “abject failure that has led to a great deal of stress and anxiety amongst posties, severely damaged morale and has led to a range of health and safety Issues”.
The petition was triggered by Mr Boys’ claim that the firm’s ‘alternating delivery model’ (ADM) – which has seen letter and small parcel delivery services halved in metro areas among other cuts – was proving popular with customers and supported by a majority of posties.
The legitimacy of the ADM, which was approved by the Morrison government in April and is set to expire mid-2021, is currently being scrutinised by a bipartisan Senate committee.
In his remarks to Senate Estimates, Mr Boys dismissed concerns over the impact of the cuts raised in a previous survey of more than 400 Melbourne posties as “not representative of the whole postie workforce” and “from a very small region”.
“We think it’s going very well, and we’re getting very positive feedback,” Mr Boys said of the ADM in response to questions from Labor senator Nita Green last Monday.
“Ms Davies and Mr Barnes can attest to some of the great stories we’re hearing back from our posties and from our workforce in general and the customers.”
About 1400 posties from across Melbourne distribution centres have signed the latest petition, which will be sent to members of parliament once it has finished circulating.
That “unprecedented” number represents about 85 per cent of the city’s working posties, according to the Victorian branch of the Communications Workers Union that organised the petition.
Acting CEO ‘out of touch’
“The recent comments by acting CEO Rodney Boys show a concerning lack of understanding of the issues facing posties in metro Melbourne, and suggest he’s in denial about the extent of problems,” Communications Workers Union Victorian state secretary Leroy Lazaro told The New Daily.
“Our members are furious the acting CEO went before Parliament and falsely claimed Melbourne posties were broadly supportive of the model, while also dismissing surveys which detailed their concerns as unrepresentative.
It’s our view this shows a lack of respect towards hard-working posties.”
Mr Lazaro said Mr Boys’ comments showed an “out-of-touch” attitude.
“It’s time the acting CEO got out of his ivory tower and went to talk to our members in delivery centres in metro Melbourne, to hear for himself,” he said.
The petition will be sent to members of federal Parliament once complete, the union said.
The New Daily put detailed questions to Australia Post about the concerns raised by Melbourne posties, the ADM, and Mr Boys’ statements to Senate Estimates.
Australia Post did not answer the questions, but instead responded with a statement from a spokesperson citing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ signed by the CEPU communications division in July which “supports the temporary Alternating Delivery Model”.
“We are working with the union on a way forward that provides a sustainable future for our business, our people and our customers,” the spokesperson said.
“We encourage the Victorian branch to share the details of their survey results.”
Mr Boys joined Australia Post as chief financial officer in May 2019 and was appointed acting group chief executive officer and managing director following the departure of Christine Holgate amid the Cartier watch scandal.
He spent 25 years at Wesfarmers, where he was part of the team that oversaw Bunnings’ unsuccessful attempt to break into the UK market.