Anger as Post AG reveals closure details

Workers’ union officials are expected to turn their guns on Post AG bosses as details of the firm’s controversial austerity plans have emerged.The company – in which the Republic of Austria has a 52.8 per cent stake through state holding company ÖIAG – announced today (Weds) where it planned to shut down post offices.Post AG said 12 branches in Lower Austria, 11 in Styria, nine in the province of Upper Austria, seven in Burgenland, six in Carinthia, six in Tyrol and one in Vorarlberg would stop doing business later this year.The 52 closures are part of the firm’s heatedly debated concept of cutting costs by closing 300 offices throughout the year.Post AG officials are set to meet with local politicians and citizen representatives to discuss how to ensure postal service in their areas. The talks, however, are unlikely to keep the company from closing down the branches it has eyed. Post AG is tipped to approach petrol station managers, grocery owners and mobile service shop bosses about their becoming so-called Post Partners.Post AG currently has 1,807 branches across Austria, but 756 of them are already Post Partners run by private businesses that provide basic post services.Company chief Georg Pölzl claimed Post AG must react to “changes in today’s world” – while workers’ union leaders have expressed fears that more and more customers will turn their backs on Post AG in favour of private competitors for the handling of their mail.Post AG’s turnover shrank by 15.2 million Euros in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2009.