Australian postal union slams pay-for-delivery idea

Australian postal union slams pay-for-delivery idea

Australia’s communications industry trade union has denounced the idea of charging the public to provide daily mail deliveries. The criticism came after Australia Post conducted an online survey asking their customers if they would be willing to pay a $30 annual fee for daily mail deliveries if the free service switched to three-days-a-week.

Australia Post is currently looking for ways to improve the efficiency of its traditional mail business. Although the company overall made a healthy profit last year thanks to soaring parcel volumes, the letters business lost $220m.

The survey also came with Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission now in the process of reviewing the government’s role in owning certain enterprises.

Today the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union said Australia Post “should be ashamed” for suggesting charges for mail delivery.

The union said daily mail deliveries were “critical” for businesses and residents, and important for maintaining Australia Post’s trusted brand. It said mail services were already funded by postage.

CEPU postal and telecommunications branch secretary for New South Wales Jim Metcher described the idea of a fee as “hare-brained”.

“Loss of confidence”

“Reducing daily delivery – or making people pay for it – would see fewer and fewer people use the service, leading to post office closures and loss of confidence in Australia Post,” said Metcher.

“Australia Post can’t just hang on to the highly profitable parts of its business like parcels, but ditch letters because they are less profitable. All mail products are essential to the service.”

Metcher said Australia Post’s staff “deserve better” than discussion about cutting delivery to three days per week.

“This kind of talk puts fear in to the thirty-three thousand hard-working postal workers who make sure Australians have access to a reliable mail service each day,” he said.

Although the future of Australia Post is currently under discussion by a government Commission examining the role of public ownership, the Post insisted the survey was no indication of what may or may not be implemented.

A spokesperson said of the online survey that it was important to give the community a say in their mail services.

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