The copy for this post is adapted from information supplied by Joan Doyle, Branch Secretary for the Communication Workers Union.
In October 2007 Australia Post closed the Fitzroy Delivery Centre (DC) and re-structured the way mail is delivered to Fitzroy, Collingwood and Abbotsford. Previously, ongoing full time staff dealt with the mail from its delivery to the local area until it went into your letterbox.
Under the new arrangements, the first worker of each day (known as a Slotter) works from 5.30 am to 9.30 am at Spencer Street, Melbourne. There are 11 of these employees (soon to be moved to Port Melbourne).
The next worker (known as a Dedicated Outdoor Delivery Only or DODO) works on a 4 hour shift commencing at either 9 am or 10.30 am. There are 11 of these posties. They pick up the mail from a concrete one-room warehouse in Collingwood.
The Slotters and DODOs are supported by 4 full-time relievers who cover rounds left vacant because of holidays, sick leave and resignations. There is also a team leader, a supervisor and a manager.
This job splitting means that he workers no longer have control over the whole work process, so much of the job satisfaction, responsibility for and pride in doing an accurate and careful job is removed. Posties used to do slotting and delivery. Now, the skill, variety and rotation of tasks have been reduced.
The Slotters spend too long doing a repetitive and physically onerous job while the deliverers are now out-workers and do not get time to spend with their workmates and supervisors to learn the skills of their trade. The delivery job is being performed for 15% less pay.
In May 2009 the Communication Workers Union distributed four thousand surveys to letter-boxes in the Fitzroy, Collingwood and Abbotsford area. 752 surveys or 18.8% were returned (via a reply paid envelope), which a very good response rate for this type of survey.
The survey found that over half those who responded believed the quality of the mail delivery service has become worse with the new system.
- 78% of the customers responding to the survey received other people’s mail by mistake
- 53% had had mail left unsecured
- 42% had had mail delayed
- 38% had had mail delivered damaged
I’ve been a postie so I know what the union is talking about. It was a university summer job in Perth, and I worked with and was trained by the old school bikers who were career posties (it’s one of the few paying jobs where you have to have a motorcycle license so it’s popular with bikers).
I was a delivery officer and I got the job because I had grown up in the area, knew the streets and had a full motorcycle license. I spent about 4 months in the lead-up to and flow-over from Christmas (October to January) delivering mail on a Honda postie bike.
I never did slotting but I learned about how it’s done. You can’t just rely on the postal address – you have to filter that through local geographic knowledge. Otherwise, the job of the deliverer is made much harder. You have to double back to find places and you miss corner houses where the street address is street A but the where postbox is around the corner on street B.
We the people own Australia Post and we are witnessing this essential public utility being destroyed by government bureaucrats. We continue to pay taxes but the service keeps declining along with the pay and conditions of the staff.
Why is this happening? Why do we complain about it yet do nothing more substantial? This should be a major federal political issue. I would consider voting for whichever party guarantees service in this area. I’m sick of losing mail I know is coming, finding mail for properties down the street in my letterbox, and receiving a card for registered deliveries in my letterbox days after the mail has arrived.
If you want further information, contact Joan Doyle, Branch Secretary, Communication Workers Union.
200 Arden Street, North Melbourne, 3051
Ph: 03 9600 9100
Fax: 9600 9133