Guernsey Press

35 Guernsey Post workers take voluntary redundancy

MORE than 30 staff at Guernsey Post have taken voluntary redundancy as the company seeks to reverse a loss-making position.

Chief executive Boley Smillie said the commercial pressures Guernsey Post is facing ‘are coming quicker and faster than the operational solutions we have for them’. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31942638)

In all, 35 staff will leave the company, with the bulk of redundancies coming from the operations team. The process will be completed in three phases, with departures in April, September and December.

Chief executive Boley Smillie said that the redundancies were coming at a time of significant change for the company, following considerable financial pressure over the last 12 months.

‘I’m extremely grateful to those that came forward, and to the rest of the team. They have been dealing with a lot and I really couldn’t wish for a better group of people,’ he said.

Mr Smillie also paid tribute to the Communications Workers Union and Unite CMA, the trade unions which represent Guernsey Post’s operational staff and administration team respectively.

‘They’ve both played an integral part in helping us reduce our cost base,’ he said.

The redundancies come after a year of financial strain, with the company expected to make a loss of more than £1.5m. over the latest financial year.

‘Things have still not eased. The commercial pressures we are facing are coming at us quicker and faster than the operational solutions we have for them,’ Mr Smillie said, highlighting that factors such as Royal Mail strikes in the UK had affected consumer confidence.

‘We have also incurred higher operational costs due to soaring inflation, and this is made even more difficult by the fact that the parcel market is very competitive. There is a constant downward pressure on price.’

Mr Smillie also said that the volume of letters being handled by the company, which fell by 26% in the final quarter of 2022, was still in decline.

‘More and more is being done digitally. Bank statements, bills and cheques can all now be dealt with online rather than through the post, though we still handle a lot of parcels because of the popularity of online shopping,’ he said.

Mr Smillie preferred to focus on the opportunities that technology was bringing to the company, not least in the form of a new automated parcel sorting machine, which is scheduled to be installed this summer.

‘Building work to accommodate the new machine started about three months ago and we expect that to be completed in June, with the installation of the machine completed by August or September,’ he said.

Training for the staff operating the machine will take approximately two months, and Mr Smillie was confident that his team would rise to the challenge.

‘We have engineers and suppliers who are used to automation, and everyone has done a good job in adapting to what is a major change in how we operate.

‘I’m optimistic that through each of the initiatives we are implementing, we will restore profits by next year,’ he said.