A shortage of postal delivery workers in Geraldton is causing delivery delays and postie stress, according to a union official.
Communication Workers Union WA branch secretary Barry McVee yesterday said he was told the Geraldton delivery centre had been short-staffed by between four and six posties on a daily basis for “quite some time”.
He said the centre was rotating mail rounds on a daily basis — in other words, at least one out of the city’s 14 rounds was not delivered.
“As we speak, the mail for round two — or Mount Tarcoola — is at Geraldton and will not be delivered today but will go out tomorrow instead,” he said.
“Tomorrow, they will be laying over another round.”
Geraldton’s Australia Post Retail Shop would not respond directly to Guardian inquiries and referred questions to its Melbourne media office.
An Australia Post media spokesperson yesterday said that, due to the mining boom, the organisation was working hard to maintain the number of posties in Geraldton.
“We are minimising any disruption to mail delivery,” the spokesperson said.
Mr McVee said Australia Post was trying to hire extra staff, but in the meantime Geraldton posties were feeling the strain.
“Part of the reason posties are attracted to the job is because of the lifestyle — they like to start early and finish early — but because they’re short-staffed they’re starting early but still hanging around about 3pm or 4pm,” he said.
“They’re at breaking point because they’re doing so much overtime and so many splits.”
Splits are where workloads are increased to make up for staff absences through leave.
Mr McVee said Geraldton had hired two relief staff from Perth, but metropolitan centres were already short-staffed.
He said Australia Post had a legislated obligation to deliver all mail the next day, but an Australia Post spokesperson said this was not the case.
Under its customer service charter, Australia Post says its delivery timetable for letters in a regional city is the next business day.
“Australia Post is required to deliver 94 per cent of domestic letters on time, based on an independent audit. We often exceed this target,” it says on the auspost.com.au. website.
“Although Australia Post consistently aims to meet these standards, it’s not always possible to deliver some of our 21 million articles a day on time.
“This is because we rely on various modes of transport to travel across the country through all types of weather and terrain and still maintain affordable prices.”
An Australia Post spokesperson said the organisation had increased its efforts to attract new recruits with the necessary skills for being a postie.
“This includes us soon introducing electric bikes to help us recruit from a wider pool of applicants,” the spokesperson said.
“People interested in becoming a postie in the Geraldton area, can contact us on 13 13 18.”
The salary for a postal delivery officer ranges from $40,783 for a trainee to $48,659 for the highest graded worker, including penalty loadings.