Postal workers in 'good faith' return

The post office building on East Hill Street.

The post office building on East Hill Street.

By Sancheska Dorsett

RESIDENTS can expect to receive “some” mail before Christmas as the General Post Office on East Hill Street resumed operations last week, after nearly one month of workers protesting, according to Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President Kingsley Ferguson.

Mr Ferguson said the employees returned to work on “good faith” that the government will continue to carry out the necessary work at the post office until a suitable replacement building is found.

“Certain things that we had requested they do for persons to return to work they have made efforts to fix,” Mr Ferguson said.

“The air conditioning in now in place and there is constant cleaning to take care of the mould. So persons are working until about one or two in order to get some mail out before Christmas, especially to those persons in the Family Islands. These are all temporary fixes and hopefully in the New Year we can get some more things done. We got a favourable response for the government and we are working on good faith. Something has started and we are grateful for that. We were also told that some consideration is being given to a particular location, so we are happy about that as well.”

Employees at the main post office demonstrated for nearly a month demanding the government either make the building habitable or move them immediately.

Rat infestation, heat from a broken air-conditioner and alleged rashes from handling mail are just a few of the problems the workers were protesting.

Earlier this month, when asked if the government has narrowed down any potential locations for the post office’s relocation,Transport and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell said: “The government has looked at a number of locations. We don’t want to prematurely make any announcements until we are satisfied that we’ve made sufficient advancement that it won’t fly back in our faces.”

He thanked those employees who have continued to work under extreme conditions and circumstances. He said it had to be for love of country, adding he was satisfied that it’s not primarily for the pay. Mr Campbell said the government was continuing to work for and on their behalf.

Earlier this year, then-BPSU President John Pinder threatened industrial action if the government did not immediately relocate employees from the “unsanitary” building. At the time, he said his members were forced to work in a mould infested building with rats, termites and a leaking ceiling.

Since then, Mr Ferguson, the union’s new leader, said things have become progressively worse and despite employees only working half days, many of them have reportedly developed respiratory issues because of the toxic environment.


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