General Post Office *File photo
General Post Office *File photo

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Postal workers today downed tools demanding the reinstatement of a sacked worker.

Anthony Rogers, who was cleared of conspiring to import cannabis and fraudulently retaining a postal package after a court appearance in 2011, was later fired by Post Office management.

BIU chief Chris Furbert said Mr Rogers, who was accused alongside two other Post Office workers, should have been reinstated in his post after he was found not guilty.

But Post Office management countered that it axed Mr Rogers, who was 59 when charged and of Hamilton Parish, on unrelated disciplinary charges – including failure to follow his route and losing a parcel, which has never been recovered.

Mr Furbert said: “The issue is very concerning to us because the parcel in question was also under police surveillance.

“He was charged by police and he was exonerated of all these charges in October or November last year.

“We are looking to have him reinstated, but management has said that’s not going to happen.”

Mr Furbert said Post Office bosses had suggested the union take the matter to arbitration.

But he insisted: “The courts have ruled – that’s like going to Supreme Court then being tried again in the lower courts.”

And he said: “We will not go to arbitration – the courts have decided.”

Mr Furbert said post office workers would stay out for the rest of the day, but return to work as normal on Monday morning.

He added that union chiefs would discuss the matter and call a general meeting of the BIU to discuss the row.

A spokesman for the Post Office said: “The Bermuda Post Office [BPO] regrets the current impasse between the BPO management and the Bermuda Industrial Union [BIU]. 

“However, the safety and security of the postal system is paramount to Bermuda’s reputation for economic and social stability and for public security and safety.  It therefore is expected that all persons who are employed by the BPO to process and deliver mail items will conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and diligence.

“To be fair to all BPO employees, and for clarity, the BPO management advises the public that postal workers customarily conduct themselves with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism.

"In this instance an employee was terminated approximately two years ago because a package was loaded into his van and disappeared from his possession. 

“The employee was found to have gone off the established delivery route and the package disappeared from his possession at that time. The BIU’s position is that since the employee was acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to import cannabis into Bermuda; he should be reinstated by the Post Office. This is a misconception on the part of the BIU.  The employee’s termination was unrelated to the criminal proceedings. 

“After a thorough investigation of the matter, the employee was found to have violated the Post Office policies and postal regulations governing his employment resulting in the disappearance of a mail package that was in his possession from the mail system.

"It was and remains the position of the BPO that this infraction served to undermine the public trust in the security of the Post Office and it brought the Bermuda Government into disrepute.  It was and remains the BPO’s opinion that this infraction constituted gross misconduct and the employee was rightfully terminated in accordance to the provisions as set out in the BIU Collective Bargaining Agreement [CBA].”

The spokesman added: “In addition to the reinstatement of the terminated employee, the BIU has demanded an unconditional guarantee that its members will not be terminated for losing mail. The BPO believes that it would not be in the interest of the public, the reputation of BPO employees or the security of the Bermuda postal sector for the BPO management to not investigate allegations of postal and work place infractions as outlined in the Bermuda Postal regulations and to address them in accordance the established due processes as set out in the BIU CBA.

“The BPO management does not believe that all avenues under the BIU CBA have been exhausted and has requested that the BIU refer this matter to arbitration. To date the BIU has declined this request. The BPO values the working relationships with its union partners and is hopeful that despite the current impasse that sound reasoning will prevail.

“The Bermuda Post Office apologizes to the public for any inconvenience that this impasse has caused. The public is advised that the BPO does have contingency plans in place to minimize the disruption and to ensure that the public will continue to be able to access its mail.”