The An Post (National Post Company) group of unions have come out with a report today which is strongly in favour of introducing a postcode system in Ireland. I happened to be at the press conference to launch the report today. It contains some interesting information about the company’s situation.
Basically, the unions are very concerned about the state of An Post, and the fact that the chief executive has warned that the post is basically a declining business. The unions fundamentally disagree with this position, and are hopeful that initiatives such as postcodes and increased use of e-commerce will stimulate mail volumes and lead to growth. The unions also believe that the company has an important social function, something which the management does not accept.
The report has said that there are serious problems with the standard of service provided by An Post, and that this is undermining confidence among users, resulting in lower volumes.
An interesting quotation about An Post’s investment in automated sorting equipment:
An Post spent ?100 million on new sorting technology in 2002. This has not realised the productivity gains and costs savings hoped for and serves to illustrate the point that buying machines does not amount to technology
adoption. The effects of technology change depend on the active cooperation of people. Reaping the benefits of new technologies in organisational changes requires the active engagement of staff and their representatives.
This is in marked contrast to the Communication Workers’ Union’s position at a Dail Committee in February 2003:
The technology being used at present can read almost any address. It has a unique address system that would not be provided by codes. The new system is much better than a system of codes in many respects.
As you can see every day brings excitement, thrills and spills in the world of postal infrastructure.