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Postal workers union warns of Christmas chaos

Trade union officials have warned of long queues of people hoping to send parcels and cards this Christmas because of the shortage of staff.

They say that postal workers are already overworked and that with Christmas arriving the workload always doubles.

Trade union spokesman Franz Wallmann said: "We think that there is going to be a really chaotic situation. There have already been staff savings for example here in Salzburg where 40 jobs have gone and that is a move that we just don't understand. Something like this just before Christmas has no sense when it is absolutely the peak season for the postal service. They have overstepped the borders."

But the Austrian post office spokesman Michael Homola rejected the allegation that there had been 40 jobs lost in Salzburg. He also said that there was  reserve staff to be called on during Christmas. He added that he had no doubt that the job would be done professionally over Christmas,  as always.

He said: "The number of letters is falling every year. In addition with the increased automation of the process we just don't need as many staff. But that's been going on every year and criticism to say that it shouldn't happen at Christmas is coming from a group for which there is never a correct time for this sort of thing. But at some stage we do need to make changes and despite those changes we will manage the Christmas business. In Salzburg it is the same as in any of the other provinces."

But the trade union wants a fresh look at the human resources policy of the Post Office saying that up until now managers had refused to discuss the matter.

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