Failure to fund GPO overhaul for An Post HQ was ‘imprudent’


It has been claimed that the government was “imprudent” in failing to fund a transformation of the GPO so that it could remain An Post’s historic headquarters.

eán McDonagh, the general secretary of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU), said staff were opposed to the plan to move to new headquarters because they felt the historic headquarters on Dublin’s O’Connell Street should be refurbished instead .

But he said the move proposal is set to go ahead and a target date has been set for workers to be moved to the EXO building in the city’s Docklands in October.

A spokesman for An Post said it will retain working units, including a public post office and a witness history museum, in the GPO.

Mr McDonagh spoke at his union’s biennial conference in Athlone yesterday. Delegates passed a motion from the Dublin Postal Workers branch calling for them to move to a four-day week on a pilot basis when they move to the new headquarters.

“In my view there is no great need to leave the GPO permanently,” Mr McDonagh said.

“There is an obligation to do it. There’s no denying that. It needs renovations to make it safe and functional, but you know, I think the government was actually unwise not to provide the funding. They have not explained what they will do with the building.

“It’s state-owned and is estimated to cost €40-50m, I don’t know exactly, and we felt the government really should have made sure of that rather than forcing An Post to look for alternative premises for them had no money to invest in the GPO.

“It’s a good place, it’s a good place, it’s historic, and in any case, the government has to fix it anyway, whoever is housed in it.”

Mr McDonagh said changes to “transform” the work accompanying the move are being discussed. Employees are due to receive a 2.5 percent pay rise next January and may receive some of the productivity savings, he added.

He said the union does not intend to reconsider collective agreements because of the increased cost of living.

“We expect employers to honor agreements, just as they would to us,” he said. “From the government’s perspective, we need to do something about inflation. It’s not just the job of the employer. We have to take into account the solvency of some employers.”

He also said that organizing at Amazon when it opens its first logistics center in Ireland is on the union’s agenda.

CWU President William Mooney warned that if the government does not start talks with Ictu, higher pay rises will be sought.

Eir delegates backed a motion seeking a particular cost-of-living hike, saying the telecom company’s shareholders would reap big dividends. However, it was defeated.

A delegate said a wage deal was a great move then, but we are now in “wartime”. “I know it’s difficult to break our word,” he said, citing the fact that there is no review clause in the collective agreement.

Meanwhile, delegates backed a motion calling for extra pay for employees who use e-trikes for deliveries. Gerry Sexton, of the Dublin Postal Delivery Branch, said staff were not entitled to a van allowance worth around €27.

He said the e-trike training is like training to drive a small car.

Earlier, Mr McDonagh said An Post’s future was “extremely uncertain” without government investment.

An Post’s spokesman said it transformed its business without government subsidies and “we remain firmly focused on this strategy.” Failure to fund GPO overhaul for An Post HQ was ‘imprudent’

Fry Electronics Team

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