The employees of the Postal Department around the country have launched a token one-day strike over several issues, including handing over proposed privatization of the Postal Department, and including a reduction in overtime hours, United Postal Trade Unions Front (UPTUF) convener Chinthaka Bandara said.
He said the token strike would continue until midnight.
More than 27,000 employees attached to 653 Postal Offices, 3,410 Sub-post Offices, and nearly 100 agency offices around the country are participating in the strike.
He said the top management of the Postal Department has decided to hand over the lands and buildings of the department across the country to private operators, and making arrangements to hand over the Postal Service to private entrepreneurs
He also said that the management was attempting to implement drastic cuts to postal workers’ benefits, and not providing suitable infrastructure to continue the service.
He said that if the authorities did not respond to these demands, strict trade union action would be taken in the future.
“With the actions taken to reduce worker force, the remaining employees are in a critical situation in fulfilling postal services.
“Four employees are now doing the work which was earlier done by 16 employees. From January 2021, the postal administration pays overtime (OT) only for 125 hours. But the employees have to work more than the assigned number of OT hours to complete the day-to-day duties.
“Therefore, the union is requesting the postal authority make payments for the extra hours worked,” Chintha said.
When inquired in this regard Postmaster General Ranjith Ariyaratne said that the employees who do not report for work today would be put on no-pay leave.
He further stated that their demands were unreasonable in view of the economic crisis the country was currently facing