Australia Post in crisis talks as IT jobs may go

Australia Post is meeting with unions over the announcement that 900 jobs are expected to go in a restructure of the organisation, with IT jobs expected to be included.

The Community and Public Sector Union has said Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour has questions to answer over plans for a complete restructure of the government-owned business that will see up to 900 jobs go.

On Tuesday, Australia Post confirmed Fairfax Media reports that the organisation would scale down its headquarters and administration as part of a split of Australia Post into two entities: its loss-making, government-mandated traditional mail and retail outlet company, and the fast-growing StarTrack parcel service delivery business.

The company is expected to reduce its headcount by 900 with Australia Post stating that mangerial, administrative, and support roles will go over the next 12 months from its Melbourne head office and a number of smaller offices in other states.

Fahour said at the time that the overhaul would see Australia Post become a more digital business, and would see the organisation begin parcel deliveries on Saturdays, but would require change in legislation to allow the company to scale back letter delivery.

"The key for us is broad-ranging reform of our business. That involves changing our letter services, offering digital mail options, expanding the range of trusted services in our post offices, growing in parcels, and — most importantly — offering our customers greater convenience and personalised choice in how they deal with us," he said.

At the time of the announcement, Australia Post would not confirm to ZDNet whether IT positions would go as part of the cull, but the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) confirmed that IT jobs were "in the scope" of the cull.

The union will be meeting with Australia Post management tomorrow over its decision to cut the 900 jobs, and ask Fahour to explain his actions.

"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. 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," CSPU national president Michael Tull said in a statement.

Tull said that staff and management were unaware of the planned redundancies until it had been reported in the media last weekend.

"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. 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?"

Tull has asked Fahour to explain whether jobs will be off-shored or outsourced as part of the restructure.

It comes as Australia Post is promoting its "MyPost Digital Mailbox" service as an alternative to traditional letter delivery, signing deals with Virgin Australia and Westpac in the past few weeks.