Australia Post has confirmed it will cut 900 administration, support and management staff, with the company's Melbourne-based IT workers in scope for potential job losses.
The company today confirmed it would reduce the size of its headquarters and administration personnel to stem losses from its letters business, and restructure the group into two divisions.
Representatives from the Community and Public Sector Union told iTnews that during discussions late today, Australia Post confirmed both in-house IT staff and external IT contractors were in scope for the job cuts.
But owing to leaks of the plans over the weekend, CPSU spokesperson Michael Tull said Australia Post was still unable to provide further detail, beyond promising that no job losses would occur in the next two weeks.
“The good news is that there are no immediate redundancies, and it’s good news that there will be a serious and thorough restructuring process," Tull said.
"The downside is, nobody is any clearer today as to their job prospects. It may be some time until workers get the clarity they want."
Australia Post said it would require a “leaner” workforce to support the organisation’s two new ‘red’ (Australia Post retail and communication services) and ‘blue’ (StarTrack parcel and logistics operations) business units.
Post’s 32,000-strong workforce will be reduced by 900 over the next 12 months - predominantly from the company’s Melbourne head office - an effort which is expected to net the operation more than $90 million a year.
Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour said in a statement that while the job losses were “deeply regrettable”, the company would not survive if it did not evolve to adapt to the declining demand for letters service (30 percent over the last five years) and an “increasingly competitive” parcels market.
“We have a plan to transition Australia Post to become a modern postal and parcel service that meets the contemporary needs of the Australian community,” he said in a statement.
“But to make that transition, we have to continue to reform our business - and we need support from the community and the government in terms of regulatory change."
Australia Post has spent the past few years attempting to modernise its operations and bring its services in line with the digital age, introducing such initiatives as the secure online delivery service Digital MailBox and real-time tracking of deliveries in partnership with Telstra.
Its two-year IT transformation project - Building Future Ready IT - is made up of five significant work streams: building faster and more cost effective technology foundations; implementing a new customer-centric IT operating model; a new Digital Delivery Centre for the delivery of mobile and online products and services; IT leadership and training; and a new approach to information security, ‘Secure at Post’.
AusPost CTO Tien-Ti Mak has previously spoken of the significant challenge in shifting a 200-year old monopoly in the digital era, including changing the mindset of entrenched IT workers to refocus on the customer experience, as well as the hiring and retraining of tech staff.
Update: 11:24am 11/6/14:
Australia Post CIO Andrew Walduck told iTnews the company's committment to its Building Future Ready IT project remained unchanged and was "critical" to enabling Australia Post’s digital future.
“Our strategy is delivering a secure ecosystem to connect Australia digitally and physically," he said in a statement.
"We have successfully evolved the MyPost digital mailbox, introduced new technology to enable posties to deliver parcels, and made major improvements in the reliability and speed of our data networks to provide improved services in our post offices.
"This is providing for our future in delivering trusted services and solutions, as well as our growing ecommerce and parcel solutions.”