By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
ONE day after employees were forced off the job early by a failed air-conditioning unit and a leaking ceiling, Bahamas Public Services Union President John Pinder said Thursday workers at the General Post Office have now been divided between two, three-hour per day work groups until the government finds a more suitable option for postal operations.
Continuing to classify the East Hill Street facility as "hazardous," Mr Pinder said postal officials have opted to institute 7.30am to 10.30am and 8.30am to 11.30am shifts for employees to offset "hot temperatures" at the facility throughout the day.
Mr Pinder told The Tribune that a failed air-conditioning unit had plagued employees at the facility for some time, with the issue acting as one of the core reasons behind the move to four-hour shifts last year.
He said yesterday: "As the summer days go by, it is getting hotter and hotter. The staff returned to work (Thursday) and nothing was done to correct the air-conditioning system; but they fixed that leaking pipe."
Mr Pinder continued: "We wanted everything to be corrected, but we understand the importance of the work being done at the post office. We accepted the leak was dealt with and the employees got to work.
"With that said, it should be said, employees are now on a three-hour shift; the building is still in a poor state, it is still hazardous and we can't keep the workers there the entire day.
"Three hours is the max now. Either they come in at 8.30 and leave at 11.30 or they come in at 7.30 and leave at 10.30. This is the best compromise that we could come up with and like I have said before, the postal workers are doing all they can in this tough situation."
Mr Pinder yesterday implored the government to "pick up the pace" on its decision to move the post office to either a reconstituted section of the Town Centre Mall or a re-constructed City Market building off Tonique Williams Darling Highway.
The former Christie administration had started efforts to have the main post office relocated to Tonique Williams Darling Highway by the end of May, however, according to Mr Pinder, the Free National Movement administration stopped those plans while it considers moving the post office to the Town Centre Mall.
"It's not about pressuring the government. The plans are already in place for the Town Centre Mall option, so if the idea is to go with that, the only thing left to do is the work; get it done," Mr Pinder told The Tribune yesterday.
"The work was stopped off Tonique Williams Darling Highway, to restart that will take some time and even more time to finish. The quickest fix to this matter is the Town Centre Mall," he added.
"The work of the post office is important, and with that view in mind, we need to get this resolved as quickly as we can."
Mr Pinder also repeated his call for institutions that depend on the General Post Office to issue important or time sensitive documents to clients, to work directly with the post offices' sub stations to ensure that those important documents are delivered on time.
With the reports coming out of the facility in recent weeks, there has been some concern for the state of mail being moved through the East Hill Street building, however, Mr Pinder insisted there has been no damage to mail.
He said his push for banks and businesses depending on the General Post Office for the delivery of important or time-sensitive mail to do so through post offices' sub stations was only made to assure timely delivery to clients.
Transport Minister Frankie Campbell, the minister with responsibility for the postal service, could not be reached for comment.
Mr Campbell is away on official business.