Bulletin re Round Level dual bags

Members in DC’s in a number of areas will have received notification that as from Wednesday 15th March 2023 posties will be expected to break up individual bags of parcels across two paired rounds. While this process was introduced in certain DC’s in the eastern and south eastern regions several years ago, this time around there are a number of key differences

  • Parcel volumes are up by approx. 70% since that time
  • Night shift had already been downsized in the former DC’s
  • Staffing issues were far less of a problem
  • Morale in general was better
  • Anxiety, stress and general mental health issues were no where near the problem that they are today

Your Union visited the nightshifts of all of the DC’s that were to be impacted in late Jan and early February to speak to members and ascertain the potential impacts of the implementation of the new small parcel sorting machine that has been installed at MPF.

We had an initial consultation meeting with Australia Post in the middle of February and put forward our position that the bags should continue to be broken up by Nightshift as the small parcels still needed to be double-handled and we had a range of OHS issues that were concerning,including but not limited to;

  • Space constraints in a number of DC’s
  • Equipment issues
  • Manual handling risks
  • Current workloads for posties with many long hours already being worked.
  • The recent results from our mental health survey for posties shows a clear majority of members are experiencing some form of mental health issues and just as importantly are of the view that Australia Post do not provide a safe working environment in regards to Psycho-social issues.

In typical Australia Post fashion, they have decided to steam ahead in-spite of our OHS concerns not being addressed and our view that the work still needs to be done regardless.

Apart from the fact that we believe that Australia Post have not allowed for the genuine consultation process to be followed as required under clause 33 of the EBA (This is a matter for the FWC) we further believe that they are not in compliance with the WHS act 2011 that requires them to consult with workers under section 47.

It is our view that due to the differing nature of every DC that a risk assessment should be conducted on a facility by facility basis before any new work system for posties is introduced. This is even more important now than ever due to the changes to the WHS act 2011 that now states that potential physiological risks are to be given the same level of focus as potential physical injuries.

Until such occurs it is our view that members have the right under section 28 of the WHS act not to engage in any new work systems that they believe are an OHS risk. Members should ask management for a copy of any risk assessments that have been conducted in their particular facility and appropriate/available SOP’s that compliment such.

Any member who is threatened with disciplinary action for compliance with the OHS act needs to contact your Union immediately.

We wrote to Australia Post on Thursday 9th March requesting that they put the proposed new work system for posties on hold until we are able to resolve the matter (importantly the potential OHS risks) but Auspost have stated they intend to proceed from Wednesday 15th March.