New uniforms, inclusive of special belts and boots, raincoats and possibly helmets are in the works for postal workers in Barbados, to ensure they can function with ease on their jobs.
Acting Postmaster General with the Barbados Postal Service, Valeta Best, noted this on Monday, as she accompanied Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, on tour of several post offices, where they engaged workers and heard of their myriad concerns.
With uniforms being foremost among the concerns, Ms. Best said: “The issue of uniforms is always ongoing, because no matter how many uniforms postmen get, they need more because what we really do, we allot them three trousers and uniform shirts per year. However, sometimes based on financial restraints and what would have happened last year, they did not get the quota that they really should have gotten.”
Other issues mentioned included building maintenance; mail delivery challenges resulting from staff shortages occasioned by government’s retrenchment programme; compensation related to injuries on the job, particularly with respect to dogs; rising gas prices and maintenance of vehicles.
While noting that discussions were on to ensure workers receive their allotment this year, Ms. Best said: “So, I would say within the next two months or so, they should be fully equipped with their uniforms. Raincoats are already on the island, and actually, we did source those locally and those raincoats will be distributed shortly.
“As it pertains to helmets, that is something that we are looking at. However, as soon as we have finalized the uniforms, based on the financial resources, then we will determine how many helmets, or if there are helmets, if there are belts, because it is not only shirts and pants that they wear, but they have special belts and special boots.
Those too are on order. So, we are working on it, and I believe that within the next two months, they should be fully equipped with their uniforms, including mailbags.”
Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, in emphasizing that Barbados was “still trying to get out of the economic woods” and was doing its best, asked postal workers to “hold strain”.
He acknowledged that out of all the departments in his ministry the post office had suffered the most retrenchments, with a lot of workers doing more than before, but said sacrifice was necessary for “a better future not only for ourselves, but our children and grandchildren”.
“I commend them and their labour representatives for understanding that we all have to put more into our efforts to make Barbados fight above its weight again,” he told media representatives, adding that this would keep the postal services stabilized.