240 people to lose jobs as An Post announce closure of Cork mail centre
An Post says it is reducing letter processing capacity in line with global industry trends
Mail volumes are declining at about 7 per cent per annum due to customers moving from the letters to parcels and e-commerce. Photograph: iStock
A decision was made last year to close one of the four mail sorting in Ireland with staff at the Cork centre on Wednesday night being told that centres in Athlone, Dublin and Portlaoise will remain open with their site being wound down.
An Post says it is consolidating and reducing its letter processing capacity in line with global industry trends, and switching investment into its e-commerce/parcels network in Cork city and county.
The consolidation of letters operations will see the closure of the Cork Mails Centre (CMC) in Little Island with the loss of 240 jobs. Currently the Cork plant is operating at below 25 per cent capacity as mail volumes decline at about 7 per cent per annum due to customers moving from the letters to parcels and e-commerce.
The closure will be phased between September of this year and March 2020 and staff will be offered exit packages of six weeks per year of service up to a maximum of two years’ pay, redeployment opportunities within An Post’s networks in the Cork area and further education/re-skilling grants of up to €3,000 per person.
An Post stress that they are engaged with the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) to ensure the best possible outcome for all CMC staff. The closure of a mail centre was considered by the Labour Court in its recommendation of September 2017.
CMC employees were informed of the news directly by An Post management late on Wednesday night, when the majority of staff were present in the building.
At total of 240 people are employed at Cork Mails Centre, two thirds of whom are employed on a part-time basis (about 20 hours a week) covering 216 jobs. A number of these part-time workers have job-share arrangements or are employed to cover holiday or sick absence by full-time staff. Seventy-eight local delivery staff, whose depot is based within the Little Island building, will move to an alternative city location early next year.
An Post say that the €11 million annual savings from the plant closure will enable them to invest more rapidly in its parcels infrastructure nationally, locally, and in the automation of parcel sorting. Parcel volumes have grown by 60 per cent since An Post actively re-entered the parcels market in 2017.
An Post plans to invest over €15 million in parcels infrastructure across Cork city and the wider region over the next three years.
“The closure is simply due to the global trend of mail volume decline which has led to significant over-capacity in the mails system. Our priority is to look after our employees who have given great service to An Post by providing alternative employment options, good redundancy terms, further education grants and active access to other employers ,” managing director of An Post mails and parcel Garrett Bridgeman said.
An Post chief executive officer David McRedmond said the company’s task now is to develop long-term sustainability.
“We’re talking about building a sustainable future for An Post, but we’re nothing if we don’t look after our staff. We are trying our best for a positive outcome,” he told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland. “This (closure) is on a phased basis. We are working for a better outcome for staff.”
He said An Post is investing in its parcel service infrastructure as parcel figures are up while letters are down. As they develop the parcels service there will be more jobs. “We’ve got to look after the long term sustainability of An Post.”
An Post has been in talks with the IDA and the Land Development Agency about the Little Island site and its future.