AN POST HAS told the postal services regulator that “appropriate price increases” will be necessary to ensure continuity of service over the next five years.
In a submission to ComReg, the postal group outlined its five-year plan to address its financial issues which have arisen because of a significant decline in mail volumes.
The group also reiterated its cost saving proposals to reduce its workforce by the equivalent of 1,500 full-time employees by 2016.
ComReg has agreed that price increases may be required to ensure the provision of a universal postal service but added that it should still be “affordable” for everybody. It said it must make sure that a rise in prices will not impact negatively on already-declining volumes.
An Post said the extent of market decline since 2008 is 23.5 per cent. It predicts this will jump to 30 per cent by the end of 2012.
Arguing for a stamp price increase (which is yet to be given the green light from ComReg), the Communications Workers’ Union noted that Ireland’s postal costs are amongst the lowest in Europe, reflecting the fact that the price of the stamp has not tracked inflation over the years.
“A review of the tariff is long overdue,” said the union.
On the nature of an open market, An Post said that a regime aimed at encouraging as many operators as possible may have the “unintended consequence” of “undermining the survival of more viable and long-established players”.
“Decisions that result in access at multiple points to An Post’s network need to be considered carefully,” it warned.
Commenting on the nature of customer complaints, An Post claimed “considerable time and resources” have been expended on “frivolous and vexatious cases”. It asked the regulator to ‘not entertain’ those which are “manifestly unreasonable”.
ComReg disagreed with the statement, adding that “the evidence does not justify the contention”. The regulator said it was “surprised” that An Post would view the complaints as such.
Submissions were also received from Communications Workers’ Union, DX Network Services Ireland, Nightline and TICo Mail Works ahead of the publication of ComReg’s Postal Strategy Statement for 2012 to 2014.