Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Circle Union writes to NFPE regarding discrimination in between operative and administrative staff of Department of Posts during COVID-19 pandemic
No. P3NFPE-Odisha/03 - 07/2020
Dated at Bhubaneswar the 6th July, 2020
Com. R N Parashar
Secretary General, NFPE
North Avenue P O Building, New Delhi – 110 001
Sub:- Discrimination in between operative and administrative staff of Department of Posts during COVID-19 pandemic - Regarding.
Ref.- Directorate letter F. No. Z-92011/25/2020-Coord./O and M dated 06.07.2020
To escape from the harmful effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the Department has decided to stop physical despatch of communications (Letters / Statements / Reports) from Directorate to Circles and vice versa and even within Directorate vide its letter under reference.
It is quite surprising that while taking such a decision, the Department forgot the condition of lakhs of its employees who are working in post offices and physically handling innumerable letters/parcels/packets moving though different modes of transmission under different temperature in different places where possibility of carrying novel corona virus is more. This order proves that the lives of the employees working in administrative offices are more precious than the lives of the operative employees in the eyes of the Directorate. Perhaps for this reason, operative employees are not even spared on weekend shutdown declared by several State Governments and full attendance is enforced in Post Offices in spite of clear guidelines to reduce the staff strength to 33% / 50% with staggering of work / business hours, screening and hygiene, frequent sanitization etc. by MHA. What to speak of 5 working days in a week for these employees? It is now a dream for the operative staff.
While the operative staff members in Post and RMS Offices are working day and night without PPE, proper and regular sanitization of workplaces due to non-supply of machine and disinfectants, zero thermal scanning of customers due to non-supply of thermal scanners by the administration, violation of social distancing due to cramped accommodation and want of proper sitting arrangement for the members of public, there is every apprehension that very soon the post offices will be converted into maternity home of COVID-19 if we take a look on the increasing trend of traced, positive and death cases throughout the nation.
At this critical juncture, while the Department is not at all serious towards the operative side where the staff members are more vulnerable to novel corona virus, the above order depicts a gross discrimination in between the administrative and operative staff members which is highly condemnable. The supply of preventive materials like hand wash, sanitizer, hand gloves, face masks etc. has remained in pen and paper. Even after 3 months of horrible condition of COVID-19 pandemic, neither the supply of such materials to post offices by the Divisional administration is regular nor the SPMs/Postmasters have been specifically ordered for the purpose to purchase and submit the bills for sanction so far. It is witnessed that the employees are purchasing such items out of their own pocket to save their lives.
As such, we would like request you once again to appraise the Directorate to look into the following aspects in an urgent manner without any plea or delay to contain spread of COVID-19 and to save the lives of the staff and their family members.
1. To stop discrimination in between operative and administrative staff members.
2. Temporary sitting arrangements for customers with provision of chairs, writing tables, fans and drinking water facility in the available space of the PO premises till restoration of normalcy.
3. Supply of Thermal Scanners and Sanitization Machines to all POs with permission for purchase of required disinfectants and other preventive materials like hand wash, sanitizer, hand gloves, face masks etc as and when necessary.
4. Issue of metal or plastic tokens bearing serial number and name of the Post Office for supplying to the customers to avoid unnecessary rush in the available counter / public space of the Post Office.
5. Deployment of a person on daily wage basis at the main entrance of the POs, especially in bigger offices with unexpected rush of customers for thermal scanning, requesting / helping each customer to wash hands and to use sanitizer and for giving tokens to restrict entry of customers to the Counter Hall till restoration of normalcy since with the existing manpower, POs can’t do the same.
6. To close down all post offices on each Saturday in the areas where weekend shutdown is declared by the State Govt.
7. To run the Post and RMS Offices with 50% staff.
8. To stop operation of PMA and functioning of P O Aadhaar Centres once again.
9. To stop doorstep delivery of articles once again.
10. To reduce the business hours of post offices from 8 hours to 5 hours.