General Post Office closed; non-established workers sent home to await transfer to new location sometime in February

As the working conditions at several government agencies continue
to deteriorate, the Antigua Trades & Labour Union (ATLU) has
advised of the closure of the General Post Office (GPO), as of
Monday, January 29.

In a notice dated Friday, January 26, the Union advises the Post
Office’s non-established employees that their headquarters will be
closed “due to unsatisfactory safety and health conditions that
continuously plague” the premises.

It adds that the AT&LU has requested that the post office’s
management and the Ministry of Finance “address these concerns
immediately, after which a determination will be made.”
Further, the Union says, it expects the General Post Office to be
relocated in February, and it urges staff to “prepare for the

No date for the employees’ return to work was given, but the Union
promises an update on this.

Earlier in January, it was announced that the operations of the GPO
would be relocated to the Nugent Avenue building that once housed
the National Technical Training Centre (NTTC). The Ministry of
Agriculture was also tapped to move into the premises.

However, it was later whispered that these moves would be delayed
because mold had been identified in the structure.

The NTTC was acquired from the Ministry of Education in 2021,
during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was refurbished for use as a
satellite hospital, reportedly to the tune of more than $20 million.

However, according to MP Algernon Watts, it has never admitted a
single patient and is now being re-refurbished to provide office
space for the two incoming agencies. The exact cause of this re-
purposing has not been shared with the public.

It was only last Friday, in an Observer Radio interview, that
Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle pointed to the number of
government workers who are receiving full-time pay for half-days’

Pringle noted that he was not holding the employees responsible for
this situation, but that – through the inefficiency of the Ministry of
Works – the taxpayers are not receiving value for money.

The employees of the General Post Office have staged industrial
action several times in the past few years, protesting the condition
of the premises, which included a leaking roof; the growth of mold;
and infestation by vermin.

While some repairs have been undertaken, the situation has not
significantly improved, and so workers have been on reduced hours,
reportedly for many months now.