Post to front crisis talks with CPSU as anger over chief’s $4.8 million salary grows


The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) will head into crisis talks with Australia Post’s senior management on Thursday in a last ditch bid to salvage as many jobs as possible from the latest wave of mass retrenchments.

The talks come as the public backlash and political fallout surrounding the $4.8 million annual salary package for Post’s chief executive Ahmed Fahour continues to grow, with the obvious question arising as to how many jobs could be saved if the mail boss took a pay cut.

The embattled postal monopoly on Wednesday finally publicly confirmed detailed leaks of its planned mass sackings that took staff by surprise, with administrative, managerial and support staff that fall under the CPSU’s membership umbrella bearing the full brunt of the cuts.

While the union has so far tactically steered clear of publicly attacking Mr Fahour’s remuneration – which is around five times higher than even the most highly paid federal public servants – it is understood that there is growing pressure within parts of the Coalition for some kind of intervention given Post’s poor financial prognosis.

The problem that both the government and Post’s board now face is that even though there is widespread public acceptance that paper mail revenues are in terminal decline, the argument for reinventing Post as a much leaner business risks being derailed by a negative focus on executive remuneration levels.

Adding fuel to that fire is the fresh prospect of industrial action being triggered by the way the latest round of sackings has been handled. There is now a clear belief within the CPSU that Post’s most senior management deliberately seeded stories in the media and left staff in the dark over their jobs over the long weekend.

The union says it has now sent a letter to Mr Fahour in which CPSU National President Michael Tull said both staff and management were not informed of the plan to sack the workers and claims that Australia Post leaked details to media over the weekend before those affected knew what was going on.

“Ahmed Fahour has got some tough questions to answer, first of which is why he felt the need to sack workers when an orderly plan to restructure the business was already in train,” Mr Tull said.

“Secondly, whether his decision to split the business in two is preparing the way for a sell off? And thirdly whether he is planning to outsource these jobs.”

The CPSU is also clearly ready to legally challenge the validity of Post’s retrenchments, with Mr Tull saying that “under the current agreement Mr Fahour has a duty to consult staff about these changes [and] failure to do so means that we might have to resort to the industrial umpire to remedy the situation.”

“Every Australia Post worker understands the challenges facing the business and they have done their bit to change work practices, moderate pay expectations and adapt to a new digital world,” Mr Tull said.

“There was an agreed process with management, so for Mr Fahour to drop this bombshell on staff on the Sunday of a long weekend is not only the height of insensitivity, it also raises more questions than answers – namely what’s his plan for Aussie Post?”

Not all of Post’s plans for reinvention in the digital age have gone to script. Its attempt to crowbar revenue from the low margin bill payments market through the MyPost Digital Mailbox service have gotten off to a slow start with real questions as to whether there is sufficient revenue upside to make it a going concern in terms of profiatbility.

The CPSU is also demanding answers as to whether the decision to split Post into a ‘Red’ mail division and a ‘Blue’ parcels division is a precursor to a sell off of one or more of its arms.

The CPSU is also demanding Mr Fahour “confirm in writing to the union that jobs will not be off-shored or outsourced to third parties?”

However Mr Fahour has defended Post’s handling of the job cuts, saying that customer-facing roles like ‘posties’ and staff in retail stores, will not be impacted.

“Supporting our people through this change is our top priority. I want to reassure all of our employees that we have a strong history of working closely with our people as we implement major change,” Mr Fahour said.

“We have robust, well-established processes to manage these situations respectfully. We will also consult with the appropriate representatives of our employees throughout this process.”

He said each and every job loss was deeply regrettable, but that Australia Post must continue to evolve “to remain sustainable in the face of the dramatic impact of a declining letters service and an increasingly competitive parcels market.”

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2 thoughts on “Post to front crisis talks with CPSU as anger over chief’s $4.8 million salary grows

  1. The above article confirms the attitude & treatment that the Licensed Post Offices (approx. 2800 family owned businesses) around Australia experience at the hands of the Australia Post management.
    We eagerly await the outcome of the Senate Inquiry into Australia Post, that has been extended twice as more information comes forward from concerned stakeholders. Due to now be completed August this year (We hope).

  2. I wouldn’t cry too much over the loss of jobs in Australia Post. A lot of them, when they heard news, probably said “Yahoo! I’ve won the lottery! I’m going to Rio!” They’ll be getting the biggest cheque of their life when they apply for redundancy. I’m not surprised the situation is being exploited by the Community and Public Sector Union for its own gain.

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