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Australia Post investigates whistleblower claims

Friday, 10 November 2017
By Graham Osborne

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate has asked senior managers to examine claims made by a whistleblower about bad practices and fraudulent behavior at the Sydney West Letters Facility at Strathfield.

In an explosive anonymous email sent to Holgate (and copied to Patrick Howard, Print21), ‘post worker’ said Australia Post is targeting workers over 60-years-old for redundancies, fast tracking mail that measures performance through embedded microchips and rigging figures to show lower volumes than actually being processed. 

‘Any employee with the courage to come forward must be taken very seriously’: Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate.

The email arrived last week on the day that Holgate was to visit the facility. The new CEO replied via email and offered to meet with ‘post worker’ in person but he or she did not come forward at that time and identify themselves.

“Not that I know of,” says Holgate. “I did spend several hours at the facility and spoke with an enormous number of staff who asked a lot of questions and shared a lot of views. I was really impressed with their commitment and openness and their sharing of perspectives on the challenges ahead.

“I think it’s fantastic that Australia Post has employees that do want to give feedback and many expressed gratitude that open feedback is being encouraged. I’m a very open person and I have made a commitment that I will give them feedback about what I’m hearing and what my thoughts are.”

Holgate says the issues raised in the email “are being looked into at this moment in time. I have shared the information with the most senior people and asked for their perspective. Any employee with the courage to come forward must be taken very seriously.”

Among the claims made by the whistle blower are that Australia Post is taking up to and more than three weeks to process and deliver large letters, in both priority and regular deliveries. This is despite extra charges for overnight delivery. Postal workers are tipped off to watch for and fast track mail used to measure performance. They term these micro-chipped items ‘Red Train’ so they can be processed urgently to improve performance measurements. Conversion factors for calculating mail volumes are changed to show lower than actual volumes of letters being processed. One of Australia Post’s continuing justifications for increased charges is the falling volume of letters. Management bonuses are linked to the reporting of serious incidents, which ensures that not all accidents and incidents are reported. Support staff dedicated to major mail users are being reduced in numbers, meaning mail cannot be processed in a timely manner. 



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