240 people to lose jobs as An Post closes mail centre
Up to 240 people are to lose their jobs after An Post announced the closure of the Cork Letter Sorting Centre.
Staff at the centre were briefed by management shortly after 11pm last night, as they began their shifts in the night-working plant in Little Island. An Post plans to roll out the phased shutdown of the centre between this September and March 2020.
The closure affects 161 part-time and 79 full-time employees. The decision to shut the centre has been described as "devastating" by the workers' union.
An Post said last night that all employees will be offered the choice of re-deployment within An Post's networks in the Cork area or a severance package.
They will also be offered further education or re-skilling grants of up to €3,000 each and outplacement support.
The State-owned provider said the centre shutdown is part of a plan to switch investment to its e-commerce and parcels network in Cork city and county.
It said the Cork plant is currently operating at below 25pc capacity as mail volumes decline at a pace of 7pc each year.
A spokesperson said the closure of a mail centre was considered by the Labour Court in September 2017.
However it was not known which of Ireland's four mail centres - in Cork, Athlone, Dublin or Portlaoise - would be affected.
Commenting on the closure, managing director of An Post mails and parcels Garrett Bridgeman said it was "a very tough day for staff".
"Staff at Cork Mail Centre have delivered a consistently high level of performance over the years," he said.
"The closure is simply due to the global trend of mail volume decline which has led to significant over-capacity in the mails system."
Reacting to the news, the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) said the closure is "devastating".
"We are extremely disappointed with the decision of An Post to close its mail centre in Cork," the union said in a statement.
"Our concern now as a result of this decision must be with the staff of the Cork Mail Centre and their families.
"The CWU will seek to ensure that redundancies are voluntary to the greatest extent possible," CWU national executive officer and deputy general secretary Sean McDonagh said.