Tesco deal 'threatens to cannibalise post offices'
AN Post has been accused of "getting into bed" with supermarket giant Tesco in a move that could "cannibalise" the post office network countrywide.
President of the Irish Postmasters' Union (IPU), Ciaran McEntee, said he was "disappointed" with the establishment of 'Post Point' outlets in supermarkets, which raised fears that community post offices are being sidelined.
He urged the Government not to allow any more of these to be established after the initial pilot programme.
An Post has agreed to establish a network of 10 'Post Points' in Tesco and Dunnes that will provide services such as paying bills, sending letters, topping up mobile phones and buying stamps.
Staff employed at the Post Points are on a lower wage than post office staff and are not bound by the Official Secrets Act.
Mr McEntee said: "We are very disappointed with An Post because we would rather they had come to us and asked us to put post offices in the supermarkets. We would have accepted that no problem.
"We hope they go back to the minister now and don't roll out any more Post Points and upgrade our post offices and give us the opportunity to supply services.
"We don't want them to cannibalise other offices by this. What we want is for them to come back and talk to us."
It was the second day of their 92nd annual IPU conference in Tralee, where delegates have been grappling with the future of the post office network.
There are already concerns that An Post is planning to slash the salaries of postmasters across the country – in a move that could place thousands of jobs in jeopardy.
The Irish Independent revealed on Saturday that the drastic proposals have been tabled by An Post in the company's negotiations with the IPU.