31 Mar 2020

Covid-19: NZ Post courier staff stood down over non-compliance of social distancing

7:56 am on 31 March 2020

New Zealand Post has stood down four courier workers in Wellington for not observing social distancing with each other on the job.

Courier post

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

New Zealand Post central and southern general manager of operations Matthew Riordan said workers were aware of the need to maintain a two-metre separation with others at all times.

He said it was critical to enforce the rule, and four people in Wellington were stood down on Friday for breaching it.

"Every situation will be different, the first thing we have to do is where there is a breach of the two-metre rule, we fix that," he said.

"Subsequent to that, we will want to have a conversation with any people who are breaching that to ensure they understand why that is important."

Riordan said staff could return to work if they accepted the rules and showed that they understood the risks.

So far, only staff in the Wellington depot have been stood down.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

They were stood down the same day RNZ aired a story with Wellington courier drivers who were concerned about working in unhygienic conditions through the lockdown.

Those courier workers complained that it was difficult to maintain social distancing, when at times up to 100 people were working in the depot at the same time.

They said facilities had been shut off from the couriers, which meant that up to 100 staff members were sharing one kitchen and a few toilets - which were dirty.

Riordan said several changes had been made over the weekend to improve their safety standards, and the stand-downs were not related to its staff raising a red flag.

"We have put a number of improved protocols, information measures in place, to keep on top of the evolving situation.

"There is increased cleaning, we are sourcing all the critical supplies - we are working really hard to ensure the health and safety of our people does not get compromised."

Riordan said it was an unprecedented situation and things were rapidly changing, and they would be reviewing their health and safety protocols.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs