Friday 30 September 2016

An Post urges talks as sorting office strike cripples system

Ed Carty

Published 05/10/2015 | 12:13

The strike has crippled services
The strike has crippled services

Union chiefs and contractors have been urged to sit down for talks on a sorting office strike which has crippled the postal system.

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An Post pleaded with the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) and the IO Systems company to open negotiations as the dispute enters a fourth day.

The union said it will only sit down with the employer if it lifts roster changes for 36 workers who operate and maintain sorting machines in four mail centres in Dublin, Cork, Portlaoise and Athlone.

The CWU claim the employees are facing pay cuts ranging from 6%, to 9%, to 22% if the new shift patterns are enforced.

And it is understood the dispute, which has been going on for two years, has spread with other union members among An Post's 9,500 staff being urged not to fill the gaps left by striking IO Systems employees to keep sorting machines running.

An Post handles about 2.5 million pieces of mail every day.

It issued a warning to the public not to post letters or parcels when the strike hit on Friday and it has reiterated that today.

"We are urging the two sides to find a resolution through the channels available. The situation is really serious," a spokeswoman for An Post said.

"It is not an An Post dispute. It is between the supplier and the union."

An Post added that its high street outlets were open for financial service business and bill payment and deliveries were taking place today but that no mail was being sorted.

"We can't take mail in if we can't get sort it," the spokeswoman said.

It is understood An Post may also have to consider putting its employees on protective notice - potentially warning them of the risk of lay-offs - if the dispute escalates and there is no mail to be sorted.

The CWU said its position remains that it will go back to talks with IO Systems if staff are put back on their old rosters.

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