The fallout from An Post’s decision to close its Cork Mail Centre in Little Island with the loss of 240 jobs continues, with questions surrounding the reason it has been slated to be axed. Workers at the centre have expressed their anger at the company, politicians, and their union for their roles in the decision.
Staff have questioned why the Cork centre was chosen for closure by next March instead of centres in Athlone and Portlaoise, which are believed to be the other centres that were under consideration for closure as part of An Post’s reforms. They also queried how long their union knew about the closure, given it had statements prepared and printed by the time staff were told on Wednesday night.
The issue was raised in the Dáil by Labour Cork East TD Sean Sherlock, who told Communications Minister Richard Bruton that the people of Cork are “extremely disgusted” with the decision to close the mail centre. He said it was hard to see the justification for the closure when An Post said there was a rise in revenue of 7% last year and a 40% rise in parcel volumes.
Mr Sherlock said the public has not had sight of the reports on which of An Post’s mail centres is the least efficient. He said:
I believe that An Post went for the political path of least resistance on this one, and I think Cork was sacrificed at the altar on that basis
“That’s why I was hoping that from government circles there would have been a greater degree of resistance by those who sit at the big table at cabinet and that there would have been some fight for Cork, but that has not transpired to be the case.”
However, Mr Bruton said State companies needed to be independently run “for the benefit of the public and its workers and the customers that they serve”.
“The deputy is advocating that this should have been politicised, that this should have been a decision taken around the cabinet table with people muscling one another as to whether this was in favour of one part of the community or another,” said Mr Bruton.
“I think that vision of how decisions should be made is not a vision that I would subscribe to. I think it has to be based on a fair assessment of the long-term interests of the company, its customers and its workers.
“I absolutely agree with you that this is a very disappointing day for the workers in Cork who have been exemplary in their service. Nonetheless, this is an important part of a process where the company becomes strong for the future.”