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Mail centre workers vow to fight closure

Thursday, 18th July, 2019 10:34am

The closure of Cork’s mail centre will “change the whole mail system” in Ireland, and could affect the busy Christmas period and next-day deliveries.

Those were among the fears expressed this week by an action group representing around 100 workers fighting against the centre’s closure.

The Cork Mail Centre (CMC) Action Group held a press conference this week appealing for members of the public to attend a protest being held this Saturday.

Workers said they were “absolutely devastated” at the decision to axe more than 200 jobs at the centre, which An Post claims is running at 25 per cent below capacity following a 50 per cent fall in letters in ten years.

However, workers this week claimed it makes “no sense” to close the centre, which they said was booming due to the increase in parcel handling in recent years.

One worker, Norma Creech, said the closure may threaten next-day delivery in rural Cork, possibly delaying the delivery of items like blood test results and medical supplies.

“If you’re going to post your letter in Cork, it’s going to go all the way up to Portlaoise or Naas or wherever, and it’s probably not going to be down the next day,” she said.

Another worker, Donal Desmond, said the “whole postal service came close to collapse” last Christmas due to the volume of mail, and claimed the same could happen again without a Cork hub.

He said Cork had taken the overflow from other centres last year, and claimed its closure would put even more pressure on the system.

Adrienne Sheehan, 62, said she was “horrified” to discover that she would not receive six of her 18 months’ annual salary as severance because of her age, due to redundancies operating on a sliding scale for those over 60.

“It is totally contrary to what An Post professes to be, which is an equal opportunities company,” she said.

Workers also raised concerns over the opportunities for redeployment to other jobs, saying they did not believe sufficient vacancies existed.

Part-time worker Charlotte Gillis said she was “absolutely devastated” after finding out the news of the closure through a Viber message.

“I still have a mortgage, a package means nothing to me. I still have to put my three kids through school. Our whole lives are upside down,” she said.

CMC Action Group spokesperson John Ahern said workers were disappointed at the lack of support from Government politicians on Leeside.

“I’d gladly trade Simon Coveney for a Healy-Rae if I could, but I don’t think they’d take him.

“We’d like him to meet us. We’d even ask him to lay claim on the closure, to come down and officially close it in March 2020.”

“We will fight this, and we’re asking people to come out and support us,” another worker Susan O’Sullivan told the meeting.

An Post said it was working directly with Cork staff and the Communications Workers’ Union, which represents postal staff, on the next steps and options. It acknowledged that it was “a difficult time for everyone in the CMC”.

The protest against the closure of Cork’s mail centre takes place this Saturday 20 July at 2.30pm at the Grand Parade.

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