Australia Post executives are causing disruption of Christmas postal services by stubbornly refusing to negotiate with employees over job security, workplace safety and pay, say unions.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said Australia Post was unnecessarily escalating the dispute by using casual staff to circumvent protected and legal industrial action.
She said the dispute had worsened because of Australia Post management’s refusal to sit down and negotiate with the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union.
Last week, the union lifted workplace bans for several days in a spirit of good faith to allow negotiations to resume, but over the weekend, Australia Post management again rejected talks that could have resolved the dispute.
Ms Burrow said that rather than concentrating on negotiations to end the dispute, Post management had been pre-occupied with organising an alternative workforce.
“For months, Australia Post workers have been seeking a new enterprise agreement that provides a pay rise, job security and better workplace safety,” Ms Burrow said.
“Australia Post management appears to be deliberately escalating this dispute by putting up all sorts of excuses for not negotiating with the union.
“This could have been resolved weeks ago if management had been prepared to bargain in good faith.
“Australia Post management unsuccessfully tried to prevent the workforce from exercising their democratic right to vote on whether to take industrial action.
“And when the workers voted in favour, it still refused to abide by the umpire’s decision and slammed the door on negotiations.
“This is not the way to build loyalty and respect from your workforce.”
Australia Post workers are seeking security in full-time jobs and protection of penalty shifts and rosters.
They also want an end to the practice of using company doctors to force sick or injured employees back to work, and are seeking access to an independent umpire to help resolve any future disputes.