Rail Mail Service employees stage protest at Mumbai GPO

MUMBAI: Over 350 employees of the Railway Mail Service and Mail Motor Service on Thursday staged a dharna at the General Post Office in South Mumbai to voice their demands over the poor handling of operations by postal authorities.

Members of the All India Railway Mail Service and Mail Motor Service Employees Union participated in the dharna to highlight a charter of 19 demands addressed to the Chief Postmaster General of Maharashtra (CPGM).

Reduction of supervisory posts in the in-mail offices, restoring the Rail Mail Service office from Thane to its original location near Kalyan railway station, and reviewing the work schedules of the Mail Motor Service staff are some of their key demands.

Explaining the issue of curtailment of staff positions, Comrade S.M. Sathe, Circle Secretary of Maharashtra A.I. RMS and MMS Union, said that only the Director General of Posts had the authority to remove employees from their positions, but the CPGM had effected the curtailment orders in this case.

Mr. Sathe said that the relocation of the Rail Mail Service from Kalyan to Thane had overburdened the Rail Mail Service transit office at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. He said the Kalyan office was located close to the railway station, had a well-connected rail network of north and south-bound trains and received most of their mail, whereas Thane did not. “Therefore, our transit office in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is bearing the load of this problem,” he said.

The union leaders also said that both the services were understaffed and five employees were burdened with the work of 50. Despite repeated requests, new recruitment has been frozen by the Postal Department. “The Mail Motor staff are being ill-treated; they are made to work almost 20 hours daily when they have eight-hour shifts,” alleged a union member, who did not wish to be named.

Chief Postmaster General A.K. Dash and Post Master General V.K. Gupta remained unavailable for comment, but a postal spokesperson said that the Kalyan RMS building was in a dilapidated state and hence, was shifted to Thane. “The new address has all the facilities and amenities but is far from the railway station,” he said.

The union plans to continue their agitation and go on an indefinite strike till their demands are not addressed, “We will take the strike statewide, if it comes to that,” said S.N. Jadhav, Circle Secretary of the Union.