Tuesday, 29 June 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
28. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the information available to him regarding the industrial dispute involving sub-post office owners and An Post over bank holiday working and other issues; his views on whether it is in the interest of customers that sub-post offices should be open for as long a period as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19199/04]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): The issue surrounding the obligations of postmasters to open their offices on a Saturday of a public holiday is clearly a contractual matter between An Post and each postmaster. The recognised representative body for postmasters is the Irish Postmasters Union.
My understanding on the matter is that in April this year approximately 43 out of a total of 1,400, postmasters closed their offices on the Saturday of the Easter bank holiday weekend. On 17 May last, An Post was granted a High Court order restraining 43 postmasters from closing their offices on the June bank holiday. The company also obtained an injunction against the Irish Postmasters Union.
A court date of 14 June was set for a mention of the case in which An Post maintained that all postmasters were the subject of contractual obligations to open their premises for five and a half days each week.
However, upon a request from the Irish Postmasters Union the hearing was adjourned for two weeks until 28 June last to provide parties with an opportunity to consider resolution proposals. The latest information I have is that the matter has been adjourned for a further two weeks to allow more time for negotiation.
On customer interests, the post office network has undergone restructuring in recent years on foot of recommendations made following a substantial examination of the network. The report, as part of its remit, considered the changing demographic, working and retailing trends of customers. However, in the final analysis, the opening hours of sub-post offices are matters to be determined between An Post management and the Irish Postmasters Union having regard to consumer requirements.
|Last Updated: 04/11/2010 12:54:08||Page of 332|