Belfast Telegraph

Whistl set to create 10 jobs with government postal deal in Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

A delivery company has said it will create 10 new jobs after landing a government contract to sort and transport mail in Northern Ireland.

Whistl was awarded the five-year deal, which covers a wide number of government and public sector bodies including in education, health, finance, colleges and transport.

The contract will see the company collect, sort and transport mail to Royal Mail, which will still be responsible for delivery

As a result of the deal, Whistl is investing in its depot in Hightown Industrial Estate in Newtownabbey. A spokesman said that the firm would create 10 new jobs because of the contract.

Whistl announced that it had doubled the size of its depot earlier in the year, which will allow it to handle an "expected 20 million items from this contract".

The company said that would take its annual volume of mail processed in Northern Ireland to more than 60 million items.

Whistl chief executive Nick Wells added: "Whistl is delighted that we can invest in new employment opportunities for some long-term unemployed people as well as apprenticeships following the award of this significant contract.

"We are delighted that we won the contract on our ability to provide a cost-effective quality service that will benefit the Northern Ireland tax payer through lower postal costs, but also to help get people back into the work place."

Asked whether the private sector contract could have any impact on Royal Mail jobs, a spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: "Royal Mail is proud to provide the universal service in Northern Ireland, delivering to around 812,000 addresses, six days a week."

She added: "Our focus is on delivering an efficient, consistent and reliable service for all our customers."

Whistl UK Ltd is the second largest UK postal company.

It handles around 3.8 billion items each year.

But last year there were fears over hundreds of jobs at the postal giant after it revealed it was suspending its home delivery service.

The Dutch-owned company suspended house deliveries in May last year after losing funding. It had been delivering around three million letters a week in London, Manchester and Liverpool, in direct competition with Royal Mail.

The private equity arm of Lloyds bank decided not to invest in the company, triggering a review.

Belfast Telegraph