Belfast Telegraph

More than 200 jobs to be lost as Cork sorting centre to close

An Post said the decision has been taken in response to an annual drop of around 7% in the volume of letter post.

Demand for letter delivery services is declining (PA)
Demand for letter delivery services is declining (PA)

Some 216 jobs are to be lost at a mail centre in Little Island, Co Cork.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, An Post announced it is “consolidating and reducing its letter processing capacity in line with global industry trends”, and making 11 million euro in annual savings by closing the plant.

The phased shut-down of Cork Mail Centre will be completed by March 2020, with 161 part-time and 79 full-time employees to be offered the choice of redeployment or a “strong” severance package of six weeks per year of service up to a maximum of two years’ pay.

An Post added it would be putting a 15 million euro investment into parcels infrastructure in the Cork region, and that “current high quality of service levels will be maintained”.

The postal service said it is currently engaged with the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) to “ensure the best possible outcome for all the CMC staff”.

The closure of the mail centre was considered by the Labour Court in its recommendation of September 2017.

The plan to shut the Cork Mail Centre should be put to one side Mick Barry, Solidarity TD

Garrett Bridgeman, managing director of An Post Mails & Parcels, said in a statement: “This is a very tough day for the staff at Cork Mail Centre who have delivered a consistently high level of performance over the years.

“The closure is simply due to the global trend of mail volume decline which has led to significant over-capacity in the mails system.”

North Central and Solidarity TD Mick Barry said the move “makes no sense” at a time when the demand for parcel post is increasing.

Parcel volumes have grown by 60% since 2017 while the demand for letter delivery services is declining year on year by 7%.

“The plan to shut the Cork Mail Centre should be put to one side,” he said.

“Instead, negotiations should be started between the company and the workers’ trade union representatives to hammer out a national plan which allows the company to transform itself from a letter delivery company which handles parcels to a parcel delivery company which handles letters without resort to redundancies.

“An Post made a very poor decision by getting out of the parcel delivery business back in the noughties when it shut down SDS. That kind of shortsighted approach should not be replicated here.

“There are some households which have more than one person working in the Mail Centre.

“I’m told that there was a lot of upset and anger at the meeting last night, this is coming as a real blow to many, many workers who have given long years of service.”

Michael Mulcahey, CEO of Little Island Business Association, said the move came as a “devastating blow to workers in the area”.

He said: “It’s important that every assistance is given to these workers to rebuild their careers as a result of this loss.”

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