Post’s start times tantrum sets tone for day one of bargaining

Bargaining for EBA10 commenced this week with two meetings held over Tuesday and Wednesday. It is however a shame that Australia Post chose to set the tone by throwing a tantrum over shift commencement times at delivery ADM sites on the eve of those talks kicking-off.

For months, AURs across ADM sites have been engaging with management in a genuine effort to at least try to improve the ADM debacle, and shift starting times have proved to be a key widely-felt issue.

The later starts implemented under the ADM have caused posties to have to battle with peak hour traffic at both ends of the day, deliver the bulk of their runs during the hottest part of the day, and reduced daylight hours available to actually finish their runs.

Earlier this year, management finally caved and agreed to trial earlier start times across a number of ADM facilities in NSW, the ACT, QLD, VIC and TAS.

Although we argue there was scope to wind them back even further than provided for in the trials, the trials have, by Australia Post’s own admission, proven to be successful across their own internal performance indicators – including productivity, attendance hours, overtime hours and cost per article.

So why, just when Australia Post finally decided to listen to the people who actually do the work, in a move that Post concedes has proven successful, would they choose to bin this important trial and not expand it to a wider range of affected facilities?

Well, this is the excuse Rod Barnes, Executive General Manager Deliveries, gave us in his correspondence:

… as the future of Australia Post’s regulatory environment remains uncertain beyond 30 June 2021, together with the fact that the CEPU has made it clear that it does not support ongoing regulatory relief in its current form…

So, it’s apparently the Union’s fault, because we have refused to support them in their ask of Government to extend the ADM regulations. And if that wasn’t enough of a demonstration of the arrogance within Post’s executive ranks, this petty decision was announced to us by email at 6:43pm on Monday night – a mere 16 hours prior to negotiations for EBA10 kicking-off.

Start times will now form part of the Union’s core bargaining claims that must be resolved.

Acting CEO Rodney Boys continued the effort to ensure the arrogance spilled over in to the opening session of EBA10 talks on Tuesday morning – maintaining an assertion that ADM has actually improved services to customers.

Proving just how out of touch he and his executive are with employees, 95% of members said the ADM regulations have impacted on services in our EBA10 survey.

It is disappointingly clear that management are determined to continue ignoring the truth and are too arrogant to acknowledge and act to rectify the bad outcomes of their bad decisions, setting a truly alarming tone for the opening morning of bargaining.

But, it’s only early in the process and as the day went on, there was robust and fairly genuine early discussions about what an actual legitimate future sustainable operating model could look like, how our members could play a genuine role in the development of that model and the extent of which the Federal Government’s workplace bargaining policy would, or would not, apply to Australia Post and how that may affect wage outcomes – if at all.

In terms of wages, Australia Post said they are seeking a “sustainable, yet rewarding wage increase” – however, what that actually means in terms of a percentage or dollar figure in to members pockets remains to be detailed.

Furthermore, Australia Post outlined that they are not seeking substantial changes to the current Agreement on their end, other than to update matters for compliance purposes. We at least see this as a positive, subject to the detail of what those compliance matters actually are.

The majority of the second day of bargaining was spent focussed on a broad, general outline of Union claims, including those particular to job security, a wage increase that recognises the dedication of our members throughout the pandemic and the duration between wage rises, improving superannuation, allowances and penalties, restitution for entitlements and benefits lost through COVID measures, access to leave entitlements, a fairer disciplinary procedure and a strong and streamlined dispute resolution process.

With more talks scheduled for next week around issues specifically applicable to the Retail, Delivery, Transport and Processing occupational groups, we hope that bargaining can continue to progress in a manner that delivers the best possible outcomes for members and their families.

We’ll keep members up to date as the bargaining process continues. Make sure you log on to our dedicated campaign website at www.eba10.com.au and ensure your email address is up to date with your State Branch Office to ensure you receive important EBA updates as soon as they’re available.