News : Seventy Jobs On the Line at NZ Post in Christchurch
Christchurch, New Zealand, Aug 6, 2015 -- A decision to close New Zealand Post's Christchurch call centre and cut 71 jobs was based solely on the city's low unemployment rate, workers were told.
Employees at the company's Christchurch call centre were told on Thursday 71 jobs would be cut as the company looked to trim costs and deliver a higher dividend to the Government.
Forty new jobs could be created in Auckland as New Zealand Post centralised its services.
Employee Kay Currey said she and other staff were told the decision to close Christchurch had nothing to do with loyalty or performance but was based on the region's low unemployment rate.
The workers were told Auckland had an unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent and Christchurch's was 3.1 per cent, therefore the decision was made to close Christchurch rather than Auckland.
"I thought 'you have got to be crazy'. You can't make any business decision based on purely unemployment rates."
Christchurch's low unemployment rate was due to the high level of construction work going on and call centre staff were not builders, Currey said.
The staff were now putting together a business proposal in a bid to have the decision reversed.
Currey, who has worked in the call centre for 10 years, said she and other staff worked during earthquakes, taking calls under their desks, but they stayed.
"This is how this company is going to say thank you very much."
EPMU postal services organiser Joe Gallagher described the move as "a blow to the Christchurch community with the loss of skilled jobs from the region".
A NZ Post spokeswoman said under the proposal, 71 roles would be disestablished in Christchurch, four in Wellington and 40 jobs created in Auckland, with a net loss of 35 positions.
"We are working closely with staff impacted by the proposal and we understand this will be a difficult time for them. Christchurch staff will have the opportunity to relocate to Auckland," she said.
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She said the proposal to operate NZ Post's entire call centre out of Auckland, meant they could offer a "more consistent customer experience".
The cuts come just two years after New Zealand Post expanded its South Island hub, establishing 50 new jobs in Christchurch. The expansion of the Christchurch mail processing centre came as the company shut down its processing centres in Wellington, Dunedin and Hamilton.
The Christchurch centre employs around 160 full time equivalents.
Gallagher said in the past few years, New Zealand Post has closed half of its distribution centres, made hundreds of people redundant, sent their financial service work to the Philippines, reduced deliveries to three days a week and made moves to turn their employees into contractors.
"Because the Government is determined to get its surplus, [New Zealand] Post is being pushed to return more and more profits to them."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About New Zealand Post:
New Zealand Post is a state-owned enterprise responsible for providing postal service in New Zealand.
Christchurch is a garden city on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, set on the Canterbury Plains.
Published: Monday, August 10, 2015
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