Australia Post office employees have been asked if they can work without being paid overtime and use their own cars to run parcel deliveries in order to clear Victoria’s massive backlog, days after the company’s chief executive eased the way for large executive bonuses.
Employees in Victoria were sent an email on Monday calling for staff with a driver’s licence and a car to pick up and deliver parcels to customers. Australia Post said they could do this in their normal work hours or on weekends. They would not be paid overtime but would accrue time off in lieu for weekend work. Car expenses would be reimbursed.
Australia Post, which is a government-owned business, has had a boom in revenue this year largely due to the increase in online shopping and package deliveries. But the ongoing lockdowns and subsequent delivery demands in Victoria have to led to a large backlog of parcels.
The Age reported last week that some packages delivered between Melbourne suburbs were being diverted more than 15,000km through Sydney hubs in order to reduce the strain on Victorian distribution centres.
A spokesman for Australia Post said that online shopping rose 186% in Victoria during the third week of August. It was up 94% across Australia when compared to the same time last year.
“[At the same time] our workforce capacity is reduced due to stage 4 restrictions, we’re doing all we can to help process and deliver the parcels that our customers want,” the spokesman said.
“That’s why, like we do in the lead-up to Christmas each year, we have put the call out to our Melbourne office team members to help us with our record volumes if they can.”
The spokesman said those using personal vehicles would be reimbursed for expenses.
“So far we’ve had around 200 of our Melbourne office-based team members express interest to lend a hand to their frontline colleagues to deliver for customers during one of our busiest periods ever, particularly in Victoria,” he said.
Australia Post reported a 7% increase in revenue to $7.5bn for the 2019-2020 financial year, with $5.5bn of that coming from parcel deliveries.
Although bonuses for Australia Post executives were ruled out early in the pandemic, CEO Christine Holgate this week softened her stance, telling the ABC that it would be left to the board to determine.
“It’s pretty black and white … the [executive team] has led our business through one of the most challenging periods … and yet they’ve still delivered a fantastic result,” she said. “I’m very proud of them. Whether they get paid a bonus or not, the board can decide.”
Australia Post has also come under fire for its new delivery model, which has been condemned by unions.
Under the model announced in May, 2,000 motorbike posties would trade bikes for vans or move into warehouses to cope with the increased parcel load.
Priority letter services were suspended, letter deliveries were moved to every second day and five days were allowed for intrastate posting. The changes are set to be in place until 30 June next year and lifted after a review.
Source: The Guardian