GPC looks to stay viable as U.S. Postal Service plans job cuts

Friday, August 26, 2011 5:08 PM
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Hon. Joseph GilbertSt. George’s, August 26, 2011 – Minister of Works and Public Utilities, Hon. Joseph Gilbert, has commended the management of the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) for its leadership of the company, including the introduction of new initiatives to keep the corporation viable.

Mr. Gilbert, who is the Minister responsible for the GPC, made the remarks against the background of reports that the United States Postal Corporation (USPC) is planning to eliminate about 220,000 full-time jobs by 2015.

In addition, some 300 USPC processing facilities could be closed within the next four years as part of Wa proposal to bring the corporation’s finances in order.

The USPC, which receives no taxpayer funds, has been struggling with falling mail volumes as people communicate increasingly by email and pay bills online, Reuters News Agency said.

According to Reuters, the USPC reported a US$3.1 billion net loss in its most recent quarter. “It expects to be insolvent next month and default on a $5.5 billion retiree health payment,’’ the news agency added.

Among measures the USPC has suggested to address its woes are ending mail-delivery service on Saturday, and asking the U.S. Congress to give the corporation more control over its finances and hiring.

Minister Gilbert, commenting on the challenges of the U.S. Postal Corporation, warned that “the GPC, too, continues to grapple with the problem of falling revenues due to the increased use of electronic means to communicate, and less and less dependence on traditional mail.’’

So far, the Minister continued, “our Postal Corporation has been able to avoid any downsizing of staff whatsoever; and the management must be highly commended for this." 

However, Hon. Gilbert cautioned that “the issue of downsizing at the GPC cannot be ruled out completely, given the current trend of the growing decline in traditional mail service and falling revenues – locally, regionally and globally.’’

GPC Chairman, Adrian Francis, said that for the moment, the local Postal Corporation has been “cutting back where we can.’’ However, it has taken the position of retaining its existing staff but there will be “no new employment,’’ Mr. Francis disclosed.

He said Grenada is also more fortunate because its operations are much less automated than in the U.S., and the GPC has to deal with lower volumes of mail – especially international mail – compared to the USPC.

With respect to the finances of the GPC, Mr. Francis described its balance sheet as being at the “higher end of moderate, with the hope that it doesn’t get to desperation.’’

As a revenue-generating mechanism, the corporation recently introduced GPC Global – a service that allows Grenadians to shop online.

GPC Global shoppers are guaranteed to have their parceled goods delivered to their homes by the local postal corporation within 48 hours of a purchase.

Both Minister Gilbert and Chairman Francis are optimistic about the potential of GPC Global.

“This undertaking is having some success in transforming and improving the revenue base of the Postal Corporation,’’ the Minister said.

Mr. Francis said the corporation is hopeful that there’ll be a “marked improvement’’ in revenue from GPC Global in the upcoming Christmas shopping season.

The GPC Chairman said the corporation faces a shortfall in revenue from local billing and related mail service conducted inside the Tri-island State.

Since the 1980s, Grenadians have paid 25 cents to post a one-ounce piece of mail.

Mr. Francis said the GPC wants to increase the local postage rate and has applied to government for permission to do.

If approved, the new rate could take effect before yearend.




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