Australia Mail Strike Over, for Now

Additional work stoppage is possible before Christmas.

by staff writer
- Dec 17, 2009

A mail strike in Australia has been called off after one day, and up to 20,000 postal employees were ordered back to work Thursday. But the threat of more walkouts looms next week, potentially bringing last-minute Christmas deliveries to a standstill.

Mail and parcel delivery is said to be returning to normal following a ruling by Fair Work Australia to stop strike action by the Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), which represents postal workers.

Backlogs were reported in Victoria—where about a quarter of the state's postal staff reportedly walked off the job Wednesday, and picket lines prevented mail from leaving mail centers. However, impact on deliveries in most states was "minimal," reports Australia Post spokesman Alex Twomey.

Further striking is possible starting Tuesday, so Christmas deliveries could still be delayed. But the union must provide three days' notice before any more planned walkouts, notes Joan Doyle, a spokeswoman for CEPU.

eBay is advising sellers to offer alternate courier services, and to ship items promptly and keep buyers informed of ship dates.

Postal strikes had been planned for Dec. 17, 18, 19 and 21, bringing to a head a dispute dating back to 2006 over workers' benefits, pay and workplace safety.

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