by Denise Roche
The announcement yesterday of nearly 500 redundancies to come at New Zealand Post means hundreds more New Zealand families will be facing stress and uncertainty about losing their income. Closures of sorting rooms in Hamilton, Dunedin and Wellington will hit the local economies in these regions hard.
The reason for the redundancies is that there is less mail to sort – and the company says amalgamating the sorting functions into just three sites will cover the amount of mail that now requires processing.
As a society many of us have moved to faster electronic communication. Birthday cards have been replaced with a Facebook acknowledgement etc.
Of course it must be remembered that many New Zealanders, particularly those on lower incomes do not all have access to electronic communications.
Decisions like today’s redundancies are often made by people far removed from everyday workers and those on low incomes.
NZ Post is actually bound by international agreements to deliver mail 6 days a week and moves are afoot to try to change that agreement so that they can deliver letters only a few days a week. This will have more impacts on jobs – and also for the rural postal service.
It could also impact negatively on those on low fixed incomes, retired people and those with disabilities.
None of these groups seem to have got a look in with this decision. In the Key Government’s desire for state owned enterprises to return maximum profit the top brass at NZ Post have gutted communities in Hamilton, Dunedin and Wellington.
I would very much like to see just how much money will be saved by cutting these mail sorting rooms and seeing workers who have given their whole lives to NZ Post facing the prospect of redundancy or leaving friends and family and moving cities.
NZ Post may have to make changes for the future but that should involve as little pain and disruption for workers, and those that rely on getting mail in the post, as possible . So far this whole exercise has left me concerned that New Zealand Post is moving too fast too soon with little care for workers.