An Post may leave GPO headquarters on Dublin's O’Connell Street
Company also plans to seek more than 250 voluntary redundancies
The GPO on O’Connell Street, in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill.
An Post may switch the location of its headquarters from Dublin’s historic GPO (General Post Office) building on O’Connell Street as part of a major overhaul of its operations.
The company, which is grappling with a fundamental shift in its business as consumers migrate to digital communications, also said it plans to seek more than 250 voluntary redundancies.
As part of what it called a “work redesign programme,” An Post said it will explore alternative locations for its headquarters.
Currently it pays the Government a nominal or peppercorn rent for the O’Connell St lease but the costs of maintaining the 200 year-old listed building and staging post for the 1916 Rising are considerable.
A shortlist of options, including the refurbishment of the GPO office complex, last undertaken 35 years ago, will be drawn up as part of the process.
“The company is determined to provide office accommodation fit for the business and its employees,” chief executive David McRedmond said.
“ The GPO offices are dilapidated and in their current form are no longer fit for purpose as the modern headquarters of one of Ireland’s leading companies,” he said.
However, Mr McRedmond said the O’Connell Street building would be maintained.
“Whatever the decision on the future headquarters location, the iconic retail post office, parcel hall and award-winning GPO Witness History Visitor Centre, opened in 2016, will likely remain in the 200 year-old O’Connell Street building.”
First opened in 1818, and extensively refurbished just before the Easter Rising, the GPO was all but destroyed during Easter Week with just the portico, pillars and part of the façade remaining. In 1920s, the GPO was rebuilt with a slightly different interior layout and reopened in 1929.
An Post said it would invite applications for voluntary severance from 1,200 managers and staff across all its corporate centre and support services from next month.
It said the severance programme may result in more than 250 staff leaving the State-owned company. Currrently it employs around 9,000 staff.
“ The voluntary leaver programme is the latest step in An Post’s plan to modernise every aspect of the business as An Post transitions from the old mails world to the new world of ecommerce and digital services,” Mr McRedmond said.
“We have made great strides in the frontline delivery service, relaunched our parcels business and reached agreement on the transformation of the post office network.”
An Post returned to profitability last year, generating an €8.4 million operating profit, a significant turnaround from its €12.4 million loss in 2016.
Much of the improvement was down to the company’s revamped parcel business, which offset traditional mail volume decline from e-substitution, the industry’s term for the shift to electronic forms of mail.