Postal workers threaten strike
CHRISTMAS gifts and cards posted today may not make their destination in time as postal workers around the country begin a strike which could last until Christmas Day.
Yesterday, North Coast spokesperson for the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), Nathan Metcher, said local postal workers would picket outside the Casino Mail Centre today unless Australia Post agreed to negotiations before midnight last night.
At the heart of the posties’ action is their outrage over Australia Post’s move to ‘make all full-time workers into part-time and casual workers’.
“Go north into Queensland and you get a huge number of contractors who are trying to undercut each other. We want to keep jobs and job security,” Mr Metcher told The Northern Star.
Australia Post said it would have contingencies in place to minimise disruptions this week and expected only 75 per cent of staff would participate in work stoppages.
“The public has every right to be angry at the union’s refusal to remove the threat of a Christmas strike,” Australia Post spokesperson Alex Twomey said.
However, Mr Metcher said that in the past three months 225 postal jobs had been slashed across NSW, resulting in the public waiting in some cases more than an hour to pay a bill at Australia Post offices.
Both the union and Australia Post said they were prepared to resolve the impasse. Mr Metcher said the CEPU had been trying to negotiate for three years without any industrial action and had been ‘left with no choice’.
However, Mr Twomey said fewer than half the union’s members had voted for the strike and those who hadn’t would be reluctant to give up pay and substantial overtime at this time of year.
Fair Work Australia ruled the union could not take industrial action on the December 17, 18, 19 and 21 when postal workers threatened to process unstamped mail. Instead, a 24-hour stopwork action was scheduled for today, which could continue into tomorrow and Thursday.