Rocky posties to support action
POSTIES in Rockhampton are expected to support industrial action that could result in millions of Christmas cards delivered for free.
A ban on checking letters and cards to see if they have the correct stamp is one of a wide range of options being considered by disgruntled postal workers across the nation.
Workers have until Friday morning to vote in a ballot for industrial action in support of a better enterprise agreement.
And Matt Rocks, a Queensland official with the Communications Workers Union, said yesterday the mood in Rockhampton was belligerent.
“There are about 270 Australia Post staff in the Rockhampton region and there is very strong support there for industrial action,” he said.
“The average wage for postal workers is less than $40,000 and in Rockhampton there are concerns about the loss of penalty rates for Sundays. But the main concern is job security,” he said.
Rockhampton has one of the state’s regional mail centres in Elphinstone Street, which has about 80 staff, which would play a key role in any industrial action.
“The ballot lists a lot of different actions, from wearing stickers on work clothes to indefinite work stoppages,” he said. And if the ballot goes as the union expects, he believes there could be industrial action of some description by the middle of next week.
The union is seeking guarantees on improved health and safety and job security as well as a wage increase.
“If the vote is for a ban on mail checks then no-one will check if letters and cards have stamps or not,” he said.
A ban would cost Australia Post an estimated $35 million in Christmas card revenue alone.
The union’s national president, Ed Husic, said yesterday members wanted to send a strong message without disrupting the public.
“Taking this ballot, along with possible industrial action, is the only way we can send a message to management,” he said.
In a statement Australia Post said it had been negotiating in good faith on an agreement which delivers job security and wage increases.
A 4% rise is guaranteed in 2010, it says.
“Given the current economic climate it is concerning the union would contemplate industrial action. With this in mind we will be urging our staff to vote no against Christmas strikes,” says the statement.
“Should any strike action occur, Australia Post will have in place contingencies to ensure any disruption is minimal during a very important time ... ”