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News 2

Postal e-Bulletin 2013 - #12

  1. CWU and its members delivered improved EBA
  2. New Honda NBC 110cc Motorcycle now in the field
  3. Loose load trial at Potts Hill
  4. Scanning and tracking van operations pilot
  5. New postal partnership across the Tasman
  6. Online postal potential
  7. Australia Post 'does not photograph mail'
  8. Decipha pay offer well short of a fair agreement
  9. Deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia

1.CWU and its members delivered improved EBA

The results are in for the EBA ballot. A clear majority of Australia Post staff have voted to accept the EBA. The following table has the voting breakdown on a state-by-state basis.

CWU and its members delivered improved EBA

While your CWU national office believed that the deal could have been better, the fact is that we were able to improve the offer in a number of ways during the negotiations.  For instance, it is important to remember that AP’s initial offer was a series of cash bonuses not guaranteed and linked to service performance and profits! As well the sign on bonus not was not part of Post’s initial offer but was negotiated by the union. Consequently, the final EBA is a vast improvement on what was initially on the table.

This could not have been achieved without your involvement and the clear messages that you gave to Australia Post and your union at all stages during the campaign. This was particularly evident when Post proposed to freeze the FAS.

Under the Fair Work Act, agreements are made between the employer and employees. Unions can then make an application to be bound by the agreement as part of the process.

The agreement will come into effect when approved by Fair Work Australia.

Now that the EBA has been voted on, it is time to focus on continuing to hold Australia Post to account on all issues that affect the hopes, aspirations and well-being of our members.   There are serious challenges ahead but with continued engagement with your union, there is nothing that together we cannot overcome.

2.New Honda NBC 110cc Motorcycle now in the field

The first shipment of 300 Honda NBC 110cc motorcycles is now in Delivery Centres across Australia.

Reports from PDOs indicate that there are certain differences that riders need to take into consideration when they get the new bike.

The NBC (lime green and white in colour) has greater torque then the current red model so takes off quicker.  The tyres that are Honda factory also need time to wear in to get greater grip on the road.

One report is that the bar behind the seat may push into the rider’s lower back due to stature and seating position of the PDO.  This issue has been raised by the union and being investigated by Post HQ OHS unit.

The NBC 110cc can carry up to 150kgs (spread across the bike).  Concerns of welding on seats and foot pegs were raised by Comcare to Post on the red 110cc.  The new NBC does not have the same OHS concerns.

Another improvement on the NBC is that the exhaust pipe now runs along the lower part of the m/c rather then up along the side of the bike.  Also, the weight of the bike sits lower making the bike more stable.

The union welcomes feedback from PDOS who are using the new NBC 110cc motorcycle.

3.  Loose load trial at Potts Hill

Australia Post will conduct a loose load trial at Potts Hill Parcel Centre in Sydney from early August for an 8-week period.  This is after a Proof of Concept trial took place at the Woolworths warehouse in Sydney’s west.

Currently, all parcels with Post are moved around Australia via ULDs. Loose load will have parcels put into trucks without ULDs.  Parcels will move up a conveyor belt and be stacked into the truck by parcel sorters on a mobile unit.  Up to 15% of parcels moving around Australia could be open to loose loading if the trial is successful.

The trial in August will move parcels from Sydney via Parkes NSW to Perth.

There is a significant amount of health and safety issues, Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs), ergonomic and work rate issues that have to be examined before loose load becomes a part of the parcel processing in Australia Post.

Loose loading is not new.  The majority of Australia Post competitors loose load 90% of their interstate product across Australia.

One of the savings Post is examining is the cost of fuel.  With trucks not carry ULDs that each weigh approximately 95 kilos there can be a significant savings there.  Also, loose load will allow approximately 30% more product to be moved.

Union officials on a State and National level including HSRs and AURs will be involved in the trial.  We will provide further updates on the trial via the E-Bulletin.

4.Scanning and tracking van operations pilot

Australia Post is conducting a scanning and tracking pilot in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria to determine the benefit of using ring scanner technology during the parcel collection processes, specifically for high volume consecutive customer pick-ups.  The trial commenced on 4 July and will finish on 18 July.

The purpose of the trial is to determine the impact/benefit of using ring scanner technology during the parcel pick-up process in high volume periods. 

There has been significant growth in eCommerce over the last 5 years.  Currently 85% of the parcel journey is invisible to the customer.  By bringing in this new technology this “invisibility” of the parcels will disappear. Similar work is being done in Delivery with the new scanners.  If successful, the volume of tracked articles being delivered by Post will increase. 

The pilots are being conducted at St. Leonard’s and Alexandria (NSW); South Brisbane and Virginia (Qld); Hobart and Launceston (Tas); Moorabbin and Port Melbourne (Vic).

Union officials on a State and National level are across this pilot.

5.New postal partnership across the Tasman

Australia Post and New Zealand Post have signed a new partnership agreement which aims to boost access to markets for businesses on both sides of the ditch.

Australia Post’s executive general manager for Parcels and Express services Richard Umbers said the three year agreement featured global benefits.  “Joining forces with New Zealand Post enables both organisations to grow our business from Australasia to the rest of the world,” he said. “This supports both companies’ ambitions to grow international markets and will greatly benefit our customers looking to access those markets.”

The partnership represents a win for New Zealand Post which has gained the exclusive Express Mail Service and parcel businesses with Australia Post.

New Zealand Post general manager business development and strategy Sohail Choudhry said the partnership will provide service and price upsides for kiwi businesses.“New Zealand businesses will have access to the full range of Australia Post marketing and customer data,” he said. “Not only can we offer end-to-end supply chain solutions into Australia, we can help customers grow their market across the Tasman.”

6.  Online postal potential

Last year, Australia Post did a very un-postal service thing: it began an online store for small volume, locally produced food, Farmhouse Direct. At first glance, an online farmers market seems an odd diversion for a postal service. On a second glance, it's all about packages.

Richard Umbers, executive general manager of Australia Post's Parcel and Express Services, made that clear when he told the Digital Rural Futures conference in Armidale recently, "The digital revolution will be no less significant than the Industrial Revolution".

The functionality of the internet has only just started being invented, Mr Umbers told the conference. Some are going to lose out, as they do with all momentous change, but many others will also find the new environment to their advantage.

The 186 small and micro-businesses that currently sell through Farmhouse Direct are among the enterprises that have been enabled by the internet. Farmhouse Direct sellers currently offer about 2100 lines of product through the online shop - things like honey, beef, potatoes, olives, rice, jams and chutneys.

The key criteria is that all produce sold through the shop has to be sourced from local farms, orchards or gardens. About a third of the site's sellers sell fresh produce, about 60 per cent grow their own and assemble it into other products like jams or sauces, and the remainder buy produce from someone else.

7.Australia Post 'does not photograph mail'

Australia Post has confirmed it rarely records personal details on mail packages, and only then at the direction of police.

The statement comes as the US Postal Service made headlines over its Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, which uses computers to photograph the exterior of every single piece of paper mail that is processed in the US. The total for last year was a staggering 160 billion photographs of pieces of mail. It is not known for how long the US government saves the images.

The revelation comes as the US government struggles to contain evidence that its National Security Agency has been engaged in widespread spying on its own citizens by monitoring telephone calls and email.

Australia Post spokeswoman has said the same practices were not in operation in Australia.

“Australia Post does not photograph mail,” the spokeswoman said. “The only time Australia Post personnel would ever observe mail articles would be if we were specifically obliged and directed to do so by a law enforcement agency with the appropriate authority. Even then it would not be photographed.”

The practice of photographing, or recording, the covers of posted mail in the US has been around for more than a century, but advances in technology mean the program now collects vast amounts of personal information of senders and recipients every day.

Postal workers record information on the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered; opening the mail requires a warrant. But law enforcement can request, without a warrant, details from the outside of mail packages – reportedly the postal service receives about 20,000 such requests a year.

Details of the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program were revealed in The New York Times last week.

A former FBI agent was quoted on the benefits and potential concerns about the mail-scanning program, saying the mail-photographing process was “a treasure trove of information”. “I can see who you bank with, who you communicate with — all kinds of useful information that gives investigators leads that they can then follow up on with a subpoena.” But he warned that such a system “can be easily abused because it's so easy to use and you don't have to go through a judge to get the information. You just fill out a form.”

8.  Decipha pay offer well short of a fair agreement

Decipha has put an initial pay offer to your union. The company wants a 2 year agreement and has offered just 1% in the first year and 1.5% in the second year.

This offer is nowhere near the 5.4% per annum for the next two years that your union has put on the table for discussion.

Our objective is to negotiate a fair pay rise that will keep pace with cost of living, is in line with community standards and rewards our hard working members.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics average wages increased by:

4.7% in 2011-2012

4.9% in 2012-2013, or

9.6% in total.

Whereas for the same period wages in Decipha only rose by:

3.3% in 2011-2012

3.3% in 2012-2013, or

6.6% in total.

The above data puts Decipha workers already 3% behind in terms of average pay increases.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics forecast for this year is 3.9% increase in average wages.

Given the above and that Decipha wants a two year agreement, 7.8% (i.e. 3.9%x2) plus 3% catch up (which totals 10.8% over 2 years or 5.4% per year) is fair.  This is especially so in the context of cost of living rises expected next year.  And Decipha has benefited from productivity gains delivered by our hard working members.

It is important CWU members at Decipha have their say on the company’s pay offer so give us your feedback at

9.  Deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia

A Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper on Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia found that strong economic and income growth has played a critical role in improving living standards and employment opportunities, but some people continue to experience deep and persistent disadvantage.

The authors, Rosalie McLachlan, Geoff Gilfillan and Jenny Gordon, find that there is no single agreed way to define and measure disadvantage. Nonetheless it is clear that disadvantage is about 'impoverished lives', rather than just low income.

Many Australians experience disadvantage at some point in their lives. Fewer experience deep disadvantage. Experience of disadvantage is very dynamic. Most people who become disadvantaged are able to move out of it relatively quickly, but a small group remain disadvantaged for extended periods of time.

People who are more likely to experience deep and persistent disadvantage include lone parents and their children, Indigenous Australians, people with a long-term health condition or disability, and people with low educational attainment. But most people in these groups, through their personal resilience and capabilities, family support, and/or opportunities for work or other engagement in society, do not experience deep and persistent disadvantage.

Of particular relevance, the authors find that employment is the route out of disadvantage for most people of working age.  Hence the importance of union campaigns like, Secure jobs better future when many are already weakly attached to the labour market and employers are demanding they don’t want to pay penalty rates, they don’t want to pay additional superannuation, they want more ‘flexibility’ – but all on their own terms.

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