NZ Post job cuts ‘will hit regional communities hard’

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Between 1500 and 2000 New Zealand Post workers will lose their jobs over the next three years, but it is as yet unknown how that will affect North Otago.

On Friday, NZ Post chairman Sir Michael Cullen fronted the announcement in Wellington.

The announcement included a range of initiatives to establish a foundation for future operations in New Zealand.

“The initiatives commit to investment and growth in New Zealand Post’s logistics and financial services, innovation in our mail and retail network, and lowering costs,” he said.

Sir Cullen said the changes would start to be implemented next year.

“While we will remain one of the biggest employers in the country, we are also signalling that we expect to need to reduce our workforce by around 1500 to 2000,” he said.

“While significant, it is important to recognise that the reduction will be phased and will occur over the next three years.

”That impact on people is very regrettable, but it’s something we can’t avoid given the changes to how customers and the broader community are using our services. ”

Sir Cullen said the traditional letter mail business was in irreversible decline, with letter volumes falling 30 per cent since 2006 and facing further decline within the next five years.

The areas the initiatives fall into include delivery, where NZ Post will progressively change its delivery mode from walking and cycling to a walking and vehicle support.

EPMU’s postal industry organiser Joe Gallagher said the massive redundancies and cuts to services were simply cruel.

“The scale of these cuts has come as a real shock to our members,” said Mr Gallagher.

“These plans have clearly been in the pipeline for a long time, but the people affected by them, including all New Zealanders who use the postal service, have been kept in the dark.”

Mr Gallagher said the regional communities would be hit hard.

“At the very least, the Government owed it to workers to give them some warning that these huge cuts were coming,” he said.

A New Zealand Post spokesperson said it was too early to tell how it would affect the Waitaki District.

“We’re not in a position to provide a breakdown of how the changes will affect particular areas of the country or parts of the business until we work through the details and speak to affected staff and their representatives, the EPMU and the PWUA, as part of our normal consultation process.”

By Jessie Waite