Postal workers are so overworked they are falling ill and going on sick-leave, said the TT Postal Workers Union at a briefing at their El Dorado headquarters yesterday. “There is high absenteeism because the workforce is suffering from burnout,” said general secretary David Forbes.
The union called for more staff and for the corporation and its line minister to engage with them, as is done in Cuba, to help craft TTPost’s transformation. Forbes flatly condemned any idea of privatising the corporation. “We say all positions must be retained.”
He lamented that even ahead of it undergoing a transformation plan, the corporation now inexplicably has no long-term Strategic Plan as to its future. “The union requests a forensic audit into TTPost.” Forbes said while TTPost last year spent $141 million, it earned only $66 million.
He urged Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte to say sorry for remarking in his budget speech that TTPost was a drain on the economy, but without giving details. Forbes also alleged Le Hunte had not replied to two letters they sent him.
Alluding to the idea of TTPost providing a public service beyond the notion of profit margins, he urged more funds be given to the corporation for to do this role of a universal service obligation. Forbes urged the mail be dubbed The President’s Mail to give it a priority status.
He lamented TTPost’s woes such as deplorable conditions at some post offices and some supervisors being hostile to workers. Forbes lamented TTPost had lost the contracts to do passport delivery, for BillPay and for sale of stamps plus bus and ferry tickets.
Union president Shellon Trim lamented that every year the government’s subvention to TTPost falls, for a subsidised service for which the public pays less than the true rate, such as the cost to deliver a letter. Forbes said TTPost’s courier service must be looked at again, saying when it was hived off to private contractors TTPost staff were still regularly called upon to help find difficult delivery destinations.
Newsday asked about rivalry from email, but Forbes replied customers still like to get documents such as bills in hard copy as delivered by TTPost. Forbes said the corporation is facing serious challenges to deliver mail, which now often no longer arrives to the public daily but can take two weeks.
Lamenting the death of TTPost managing director Richard Saunders whom he said was a good man, Forbes said the minister must now promptly appoint another able person to that post. Last night, Le Hunte told TTT News that privatisation and retrenchment were not at all on the cards and had not been alluded to by his budget speech.