Privatisation fears for struggling Australia Post

The postal workers’ union fears Australia Post’s reported plans to slash 900 jobs and pare back mail delivery services could pave the way for privatisation.

There are media reports that  the jobs could go as early as Tuesday, as the agency faces forecast losses totalling billions of dollars because of  its failing letters business.

Everyday home delivery of standard-priced mail could  be cut back to two or three times a week. 

On Sunday,  Finance Minister Mathias Cormann  ruled out selling off Australia Post for now.

‘‘I’m not going to rule out what may or may not happen in the future, but right now we’ve made a decision that it’s not sensible to proceed with a possible sale of Australian Post,’’ he said.

Though  the government had considered a Commission of Audit recommendation to privatise Australia Post, it didn’t think the time was right because of the structural challenges facing the agency, Mr Cormann  said.

But the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) warns the reported jobs cuts and reforms could be a step towards a future sell-off.

‘‘There’s obviously a growing fear in the workforce in terms of privatisation and what that will mean in terms of future employment within Australia Post,’’ CEPU Postal and Telecommunications NSW Secretary Jim Metcher said on Sunday. 

‘‘But I would expect the community should also fear privatisation because privatisation brings cuts to services, it brings rising costs to services.’’