Postal services to recommence: Workers demand safety measures

By Sarah Hannan

The Joint Postal Trade Unions Front wrote to the Postmaster General indicating that the postal workers will not be reporting to work today (4) as most of the post offices and sub post offices had still not been disinfected.

The unions also stated that the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be used by the postal workers had not been supplied to the respective post offices yet.

“We were instructed that safety measures should be in place prior to opening the post offices to the public once the curfew is relaxed. Although the Postmaster General had issued the guidelines to us through a WhatsApp message, most of the post offices have not received the necessary tools and sanitisation liquids as agreed the previous week,” Postal and Telecommunications Officers’ Union General Secretary H.K. Kariyawasam told The Morning.

Kariyawasam said that most of the staff volunteered to deliver the medicine issued from government hospitals to their monthly clinic attendees; even during this initiative, some of the postal workers had not received the necessary facemasks or gloves and had to source their own PPE.

Furthermore, since the health authorities have instructed to function with a minimum number of staff, the postal service will function at very low capacity, causing delays in delivering post to houses.

“For us to function at an optimum level, the transport facilities too have to function, as our service is dependent on the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the Sri Lanka Railways Department, to exchange correspondence and parcels,” Kariyawasam added.

As delays in restoring these services get further delayed, more delays could be expected in restoring the postal service. He also noted that it can also have an effect on the upcoming general election, as the transfer of parcels of postal vote forms too is handled by their department.

He also noted that the postal workers’ decision to not return to work is not intended to inconvenience the public, but rather to ensure that they are not infected by Covid-19 and become carriers of the virus, which would cause the virus to spread to other communities in the country.