Heavy hauling for postal workers delivering masks, union says

Local | 7 May 2020 1:15 pm

A postal union has warned that the government's plans to deliver millions of free reusable masks to residents will  pose a massive challenge for workers who will have to handle an "unprecedented" amount of parcels, RTHK reports.
More than a million people have already registered for the free masks since online registration opened on Wednesday.
The masks will be distributed through Hongkong Post, which estimates that about one million face masks will be delivered every week.
It says to help its 2,000 postal staff cope with the increased work load, it will hire about 80 retirees with postal or logistics experience to help streamline the delivery process.
But the chairman of the Union of Hong Kong Post Office Employees, Cheuk Son, told an RTHK radio program today that despite the increase in staff and help with logistics from the Innovation and Technology Bureau, frontline postal workers will still be under a lot of pressure with the increase in mail.
Cheuk used his workplace at the Kowloon East Delivery Office as an example, saying it usually processes an average of 2,000 registered items a day, with this rising to 3,000 to 4,000 at peak periods.
He said this is already one registered mail item every two minutes, or up to 30 per hour, and an additional 10,000-plus registered mail items on top of the current workload will be quite a lot.
"I have done this job for many years, and I have never seen that much mail be delivered in a day," he said.
Cheuk also expressed concerns about the size of the packages for face masks, saying that if they're quite large, it would be difficult for just one postal worker to deliver all the face masks for one housing estate, and that the hot weather would also make conditions difficult.
He also said the IT Bureau has not offered any solution to deal with what happens when there is no one at home to accept the face masks, saying that not all housing estates have storage space for parcels.
Cheuk said that if postal workers have to leave notes for people to collect their masks at post offices, there could be long queues at counters.


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