According to United Postal Trade Unions Front (UPTUF) chairman Chinthaka Bandara, postal workers across the nation have started a symbolic one-day strike over a number of problems, including the proposed privatization of the Postal Department and a limit on overtime hours.
He said that the token strike would go until twelve o’clock.
The strike is being participated in by more than 27,000 workers who are connected to 653 Post Locations, 3,410 Sub-post Offices, and over 100 agency offices across the nation.
He said that the Postal Department’s top management has made the decision to turn over its land and facilities across the nation to private operators and is making preparations to turn over the Postal Service to private business owners.
Additionally, he said that management was seeking to enact significant benefit cuts for postal workers while failing to provide the necessary infrastructure to maintain the operation.
He warned that serious trade union action would be conducted in the future if the authorities did not comply with his demands.
The surviving employees are in a critical situation in providing postal services given the steps taken to cut the workforce.
“Four employees are now performing the duties previously performed by 16 personnel. The postal service will only pay overtime (OT) for 125 hours starting in January 2021. However, in order to perform their daily tasks, the employees are required to work longer than the allotted amount of OT hours.
As a result, Chintha said, “the union is asking the postal authority to pay for the extra hours spent.”
Postmaster General Ranjith Ariyaratne said when questioned about the matter that any employees who fail to report for work today would be placed on a no-pay leave.
He continued by saying that given the country’s current economic predicament, their requests were unreasonable.