THE government is redesigning the services being offered by post offices to increase its revenue stream.
Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes shared how this will be done at the Guyana Postal and Telecommunication Workers’ Union 21 Delegates (second Triennial) Conference, East Street headquarters on Sunday.
The minister has committed to ensuring there is an increase in agency fees.
“These services have been totally not looked at, not supported… and it’s about time we changed it,” Minister Hughes said to applause from the union members.
The government is also examining other payment methods for the distribution of pension. The cost has become astronomical for the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), the minister acknowledged.
There are also plans to upgrade the infrastructure of a number of post offices, beginning in Regions Two, Four and Six.
Minister Hughes noted that the objective is to meet the modern day services demanded by customers. “Our vision is that we will utilise more ICT to transform Guyana and particularly the post office,” she said.
Guyana has 67 post offices across the country and Minister Hughes envisions these being centres for accessing other government services as well as serving as an Internet hub and providing other postal delivery services.
Already, the recently-upgraded Kitty Post Office is providing Internet services to the community.
The government is advancing ICT use in a number of its agencies. Under the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, some 94 educational institutions now provide free WiFi.
Minister Hughes also revealed the administration is also working to liberalise the telecommunications sector, in order to break the monolopy by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT).
Meanwhile, the minister charged the union to do more to educate their members on their rights and recourse available to them as workers. The GPTWU Conference is being held under the theme “The Preservation of Rights and the Rule of Law from Exploitation”.
She also publicly committed to lobbying for duty free concessions and subventions for the sector.
President of the union, Harold Shepherd, noted that the last three years has been challenging for the union, particularly in defending the issue of workers’ rights.
The union is addressing a number of industrial relation issues with GTT before the Labour Department.
Shepherd noted however, through the government subvention the union receives, it is working to build the capacity of its members through training.
He acknowledged that the labour movement and unions “must adapt or become obsolete” as it works to defend workers’ rights in a world being changed by technological advances.