Northern Rivers Mail Sorting Centre mail officer Jeff Mackay (right) on the picket line at Casino with work colleagues (rear, from left) David McBride and daughter Alice, Gary Dennis and Liz Bock. They joined a nationwide strike by Australia Post workers yesterday.
Northern Rivers Mail Sorting Centre mail officer Jeff Mackay (right) on the picket line at Casino with work colleagues (rear, from left) David McBride and daughter Alice, Gary Dennis and Liz Bock. They joined a nationwide strike by Australia Post workers yesterday.

Extra postie casuals in Casino

WORKERS at the Northern Rivers Mail Sorting Centre at Casino crossed the picket line and worked overtime yesterday to process Christmas gifts and cards.

However, with postal truck drivers on strike around the country, there is no guarantee mail will reach city destinations before Christmas.

While Australia Post spokesperson Scott McIntyre said there would be ‘no disruptions’ to Northern Rivers mail caused by the 24-hour work stoppage of CEPU members yesterday, Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union (CEPU) NSW union spokesperson Nathan Metcher disagreed.

“Truck drivers from Australia Post’s transport facilities are on strike. The mail may have been picked up from Casino, but it doesn’t mean it will reach its destination in time,” Mr Metcher said yesterday.

Mr Metcher confirmed that postal workers around the State would continue working today and tomorrow in an effort to have services return to normal before Christmas.

The scene at Casino of a half-dozen peaceful picketers contrasted to the rowdy 1000-strong throng of workers who gathered outside Australia Post’s Sydney headquarters yesterday.

In laidback style the Northern Rivers CEPU members protested to safeguard their work conditions and job security, forfeiting a day’s pay to take action against their employer, Australia Post.

“We feel like we’ve been backed into a corner. We were prepared to negotiate in good faith months ago, but it has come to this, just before Christmas,” mail officer Jeff Mackay said.

Mr Mackay said there was a trend for postal jobs on Northern Rivers to go part-time and casual.

Of the 30-odd employees at the Casino sorting centre, Mr Mackay said there were 25 union members and all but four stopped work.

However, Australia Post’s Scott McIntyre praised staff for ‘a fantastic job’ in picking up the slack during union stoppages yesterday and last Wednesday.

He confirmed extra Christmas casuals had been recruited at Casino to ensure the timely processing of mail on the Northern Rivers.

“Australia Post was willing to negotiate in good faith. But we are committed to the consumer to deliver the mail on time,” he said.

However, the CEPU spokesperson said the recruiting of friends and family members of Australia Post managers – untrained casuals – to do the jobbed of trained mail officers was a slap in the face. “It just shows Australia Post’s arrogance,” he said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday condemned the strikes. “I think all Australian families have a legitimate expectation that they can get their Chrissy cards on time, frankly,” he said.



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