Michael Mulcahy, CEO of Little Island Business Association seeks clarification on its future as an expanding parcel depot.
An Post has announced the closure of its Cork Mail Centre in Little Island with up to 240 full time and part-time jobs affected. With falling quantities of mail, An Post has said that the centre was operating at a quarter of its capacity and that its closure as a mail centre will result in savings of €11m per annum for the company. The company has also announced a €15m investment in its parcel business in Cork and nationally where volumes are growing dramatically due to the growth of online shopping.
Michael Mulcahy CEO of Little Island Business Association said:
“This is a devastating blow to the workers in Little Island and to the area and up to 240 jobs is a very significant number to lose. While I acknowledge that An Post is offering compensation to its affected employees and redeployment opportunities to other parts of the Cork network and supports for retraining, it is important that every assistance is given to the employees to rebuild their careers as a result of this loss. I acknowledge the €15m investment that An Post has announced to expand its parcel business in Cork and nationally, however clarification on how many new jobs this will result in needs to be given by the company and immediate clarification is needed from An Post on whether the Little Island depot is being retained by An Post for this parcel business or is the facility being closed.
“Bearing in mind that An Post only re-entered the parcel business in 2017 after its exit from its SDS business and with the huge growth that is expected in this area from the growth of online shopping, I would hope that An Post will see the business case to keep this Little Island facility and use it for its parcel growth in the time ahead and not make the same mistakes that it did in the past when it didn’t see the opportunities for the parcel business and in online shopping growth when it got its strategy wrong. Little Island Business Association stands ready to assist An Post in any way that we can so that the employees and the future possibilities for their business and the facility in Little Island can be maximised”.
The closure will be phased between September 2019 and March 2020 and staff will be offered:
- Strong exit packages of 6 weeks per year of service up a maximum of 2 years’ pay;
- Redeployment opportunities within An Post’s networks in the Cork area (currently employing nearly 1000 people)
- Further education / re-skilling grants up to €3,000 per person
- Help to secure jobs with new employers; a Jobs Fair and outplacement support.
An Post is engaged with the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) to ensure the best possible outcome for all the CMC staff. The closure of a mail centre was considered by the Labour Court in its Recommendation of September 2017.
The €11m annual savings from the plant closure will enable An Post to invest more rapidly in its parcels infrastructure nationally, locally, and in the automation of parcel sorting. Parcel volumes have grown by 60% since An Post actively re-entered the parcels market in 2017.
An Post plans to invest over €15m in parcels infrastructure across Cork City and the wider region over the next three years:
- 1,040 parcel lockers are being installed across Cork City and County to make collections more convenient for customers
- Major upgrade of Cork delivery infrastructure to enable ongoing growth in parcel
- A new, all electric fleet, with zero emissions will be rolled out for deliveries and collections in Cork City within weeks, extending to Kinsale, Bandon, Midleton and Mallow from next year.
- A new €750,000 delivery unit to serve the Skibbereen area will open next month
- Cork’s GPO in Oliver Plunkett Street is to undergo a major refurbishment reflecting the rapidly growing range of services being developed for customers.
Commenting on today’s news, Garrett Bridgeman Managing Director of An Post Mails & Parcels said:
“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. Our priority is to look after our employees who have given great service to An Post by providing alternative employment options, good redundancy terms, further education grants and active access to other employers.
“The switch of investment into parcels infrastructure will greatly increase the range of services to customers across the region and will ensure that Cork has the best e-commerce delivery service, while ensuring the mails service to customers will be maintained at the current high quality levels.”
David McRedmond, CEO, An Post said:
“An Post is responsible for its own finances and has worked hard to return to profit and growth: the Company’s task now is to develop long-term sustainability. Closing the Cork letters’ facility is a tough but necessary step as we invest in the new world of parcels for our customers. I want to be sure of two things: first, sustainability is about decent work and we will look after our employees as well as possible; and second, I want Cork to be the first city in Ireland to benefit fully from the new parcels infrastructure for customers.”