Today An Post has announced that it has achieved a breakthrough deal with the Irish Postmasters Union (IPU), representing almost 1,000 post masters, following a three-month mediation. The deal delivers a radically modernised vision for the Post Office Network for the long term.
The deal with the IPU comes as An Post moves to invest €50m in growing and modernising the post office network following the announcement, earlier this week, of strong financial results for the company.
As part of the strategy for modernising Post Offices, An Post Retail has been established as, a dedicated business unit within An Post. An Post Retail has its own management team led by newly appointed MD Debbie Byrne. An Post Retail which will include Post Offices, Bill Pay and Post Insurance manages €14bn of cash annually, more than any other retailer in Ireland, and creates employment for over 3,500 people nationwide.
An Post Retail’s plans for the future of the Post Office Network include a guarantee that every community will benefit from a modern post office service.
An Post commits to a post office for every community of over 500 people; within 15km of 95% of the population (and 3km in urban areas).
While there will be some consolidation to ensure post offices are conveniently and properly located there will be no compulsory closures.
The transfer of business to neighbouring offices will ensure the continued viability of these smaller offices in meeting the needs of the community. An Post will open up to 20 new offices in communities of 500+, currently without a post office to remain the largest retail network in the country.
An Post Retail plans to expand the Network’s reach to meet changing customer needs and shopping patterns:
Locate post offices where most convenient for customers and with longer opening hours. More post offices will be collocated with grocery retail and convenience stores offering benefits for the postmaster and retailer
Refurbish the estate to introduce larger scale post offices in every major town
Introduce new formats particularly for e-commerce & parcels
Put omni-channel at the forefront of what we do, offering more services 24/7 online but also automated transaction capabilities in post offices
The historic deal with the IPU sees the introduction of a new contract with Postmasters (the individual business owners) which more dynamically supports a renewal and development of the Post Office Network and the expansion of new services offered by An Post.
The focus of the newly established An Post Retail is on three areas aimed at reinventing the post office network and increasing customer visits:
Post offices becoming the backbone of e-commerce: offering the fullest range of parcel and mail services including out-of-hours collections, returns, tracking, redirections
Community financial services: diversifying and growing financial services products for individuals and SMEs, local banking in association with the major banks, and a full range of Government Savings products in more locations nationwide than any other organization
Post offices becoming One-Stop-Shop for Government Services: extending the range of local and central government services including the broadest range of licensing; a payment point for local authorities, fines, planning applications etc; digital ID and authorisations; and assisting online applications.
The development of these services and new post office formats will begin immediately and will be implemented over the next 3 years.
The deal with the Irish Postmasters’ Union has been approved by the An Post board and the Executive of the Irish Postmasters Union, and will now go to a meeting of the IPU.
Commenting on the deal, Debbie Byrne, the newly appointed MD of An Post Retail said:
“The Post Office has a deep and vital social contract with communities across the State. This breakthrough deal with the IPU not only guarantees the future of the Post Office but it offers every community a modern service for financial, retailing and local business needs. An Post’s investment and the IPU Executive’s endorsement are strong votes of confidence in the future of a reshaped, revitalised Network.”
“We are confident that this deal with the IPU can deliver a sustainable future for Postmasters and real opportunities both for our existing Postmasters and business focussed new entrants to the business in the future.”
Source: An Post