Postal strike unlikely despite discord at sorting offices

Postal workers yesterday moved to quell fears over the delivery of Christmas mail after it emerged that postal staff were at loggerheads with a contractor at the four national mail centres over staff changes.

It emerged yesterday that the Communication Workers Union (CWU) had raised its concerns with IO systems, which maintains sorting machinery in the four mail centres, over a move to send home 38 technicians on Monday evening.

Sean MacDonagh of the CWU said IO Systems, which is based in Athlone, Co Westmeath, had last night agreed to place the technicians back on the payroll and that the company and the union would hold talks today.

IO Systems is a subsidiary of Japanese firm Okamoto Kogyo and carries out maintenance on machinery at the four centres in Dublin, Cork, Athlone, and Portlaoise.

Mr MacDonagh, who is the national officer in the CWU with responsibility for An Post and IO Systems, said the move by IO to send home the technicians on Monday night was outside the terms of union-recognised agreements.

“They started implementing a whole range of changes without discussing them with us,” he said.

Mr MacDonagh described the technicians as “highly skilled, permanent people” and said while IO Systems may want to change elements of how it carries out its work, the company needed to do so within the parameters of existing agreements.

“What we have insisted is they have to do it properly and in accordance with agreed procedures,” he said.

An Post has no involvement in the discussions, which are due to take place this morning, and Mr MacDonagh said there was no threat to the delivery of mail at what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the postal service.

“To my mind there is no desire for any industrial action,” he said.

Efforts to contact a spokesperson for IO Systems yesterday were unsuccessful.


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