SingPost always in the news for the wrong reasons?

SingPost eComm Log Hub

Looking back in history – it seems that SingPost may often be in the news for arguably, the wrong reasons?

I refer to the article “SingPost refutes claims by postman who threw away letters” (Straits Times, Feb 13).

It states that “SingPost has refuted claims made by a postman, who was caught on video discarding returned letters and direct mail, about his abysmal working hours.

The postal service said he was responsible for delivering mail to two condominiums with about 2,300 units in total. This is in keeping with the workload and working hours of an average full-time postman.

“Our records indicate that he has not previously raised any concerns about his work environment nor health issues; this is the first time he has mentioned this,” said a SingPost spokesman in a reply to the Straits Times on Monday (Feb 12).”

Other than this postman – has anyone else ever raised the issue of the “workload”?

What are the typical working hours?

As to “To prevent a repeat of the incident, SingPost will conduct refresher courses for its 1,200 postal delivery staff. These courses, staggered over the next two months, will cover key procedures and disciplinary measures” – shouldn’t it also be focusing on the “workload” and health of the workers?

With regard to “SingPost said it has faced a manpower crunch due to locals spurning the job”.

“We have thus turned to hiring from Malaysia and China,” it said” – what is the breakdown of the postmen into Singaporeans, permanent residents and foreigners?

In respect of “On top of hiring full-time postmen, SingPost has 363 Employee Neighbourhood Postmen (ENP). Largely made up of housewives and retirees, these ENPs can choose to work from four hours to nine hours a day” – what is the basic pay per hour?

Feb 10, 2018

According to the article “SingPost dismisses postman who threw away returned letters, direct mail” (Straits Times, Feb 10) –

“The postman replies in Mandarin: “If I say it, you may not even believe me. I came to Singapore from China. I’ll tell you about a real problem. It’s not that we want to throw it away or are irresponsible. I have over 2,600 letterboxes (to cover)… every day. Actually I wanted to go and see a doctor today as my leg hurts.”

The video taker retorts: “So you threw this stack of beautiful letters into the rubbish bin.”

The postman eventually apologises to the man.

SingPost said the company will be looking into the postman’s claims about the work environment, “but it does not excuse his actions” and neither does it change the decision to dismiss him.

On average, 4,000 pieces of mail end up at SingPost’s Returned Letters Unit every day, according to a report last year. Only about 300 items are eventually traced and returned.

Many of the items that pass through the unit are letters and packages with no stamps, illegible handwriting, incomplete addresses or addressed to places that no longer exist.”

Jul 12, 2017

Last July, SingPost took action against a postman who left a bundle of mail at a Jurong East void deck while on his delivery rounds” (“SingPost to discipline postman who left mail bundle at Jurong East void deck“, Straits Times, Jul 12, 2017).

Sep 4, 2014

Profits Up 43% so Why is Singpost Still Raising Prices?

Need to increase in postal rates?

We refer to the article “SingPost to raise postage rates from October” (Straits Times, Sep 3, 2014).

It states that “Local rates will increase between four cents and 20 cents while international rates will move up between five cents and 25 cents depending on the weight.

Mail volumes down, but mail revenue and profits up?

The revised rates come amid a challenging postal business environment, said group chief executive Dr Wolfgang Baier, where domestic mail volumes are on a decline for the second consecutive year and costs are escalating.”

Profits increased 2.9% to $145m? 

– According to SingPost’s 2013 annual report – its underlying net profit for FY2013/14 was $145 million, an increase of 2.9%.

Mail revenue grew by as much as 27%?

For its mail segment performance – domestic and international mail revenue grew 4 and 27% respectively – the mail segment performance had an operating profit of $142.6 million, a year-on-year % change of 1%.

43% increase in profits?

Its profits have increased by 43% from $101.3 million in FY2001/02 to FY2013/14 – a healthy increase of 3.03% per annum.

IDA approved increase?

As postal services is an essential service and a monopoly, and given the above financials, why did the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore approve the increase in postal rates?

Jun 12, 2014

Update: The curious case of the ‘demolished’ P.O. box

Update: I received a call from SingPost asking me to provide copies of my bank statements for the last few years showing that I had paid my P. O. Box rental vide giro.

When I explained that it would be difficult for me to obtain bank statements going back a few years,  she said that they require them because they only have the records for one year.

I managed to obtain the statements and sent it to them.

About a week later, I received the call today to inform me that their records show that Robinson Road P.. O. Boxes were never demolished or moved a few years ago (but the original building is no longer there?)

Hence, they are unable to refund my rentals paid.

They also asked if I could give them the letter which I said I had received from them a few years ago – informing me to remove my P.O. Box contents because Robinson Road P. O. Boxes were being demolished/moved.

“‘singpost’PO Box rental deductionInbox (SingPost)

To SingPost

As requested, attached are the years’ bank statements showing the giro deduction of the p.o. box rental

Thank you

—From: (SingPost)@singpost.com>Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 10:27 AMSubject: PO Box rental deductionTo:

Thank you for accepting my call today.

As discussed over the phone, kindly provide us a billing statement showing that the amount was taken out from your Giro bank account for 2 occasions, 2013 and 2014. We can process the refund however we need to have the supporting documents required to fully establish the claim and process. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the day.

“Customer Relations ManagerCustomer Care & ExcellenceSingapore Post Limited (Reg No. 199201623M)www.singpost.com  T +65 6845 4517 • F +65 6842 3400 • A 10 Eunos Road 8, Singapore Post Centre, Singapore 408600”

TR Emeritus

May 22, 2014

http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/05/22/the-curious-case-of-the-demolished-p-o-box/

After about 2 months from the time when I first called SingPost Customer Service number 1605 about my query – about 10 email exchanges and 10 calls – and countless minutes of holding on the line to speak to a human being, being kept on hold, etc – the outcome is best described as illogical and nonsensical.

But, allow me to start my story from the very beginning…

I recall a few years ago, receiving a letter from SingPost informing me that as the building where I had rented a P. O. Box (Robinson Road), was being demolished/renovated or something – I had to clear all the items in my P. O. Box to make way for the renovation.

I did so accordingly.

A few years later (March this year) – I realised that I had been charged through my GIRO every year for the P.O.Box rental.

Despite the umpteen emails and calls – the final email response is still the same as the illogical one that I received when I first called. – It was my responsibility as a customer to write to SingPost to cancel my P. O. Box rental account, regardless of the letter from SingPost informing me to clear my contents from the box to make way for the (P. O. Box) building’s refurbishment.

If you receive such a letter, wouldn’t you have the obvious impression that the P. O. Box service was being discontinued?

Despite being asked by the same staff to repeat the same scenario all over again several times – the final email response is still one that refuses to understand the original scenario which occurred.

By the way, despite informing the respondent(s) repeatedly that it was Robinson Road P. O. Box – the final email still refers to Bras Basah P. O. Box?

In the thousands of articles and letters that I have written in the last 15 years or so – I have rarely if ever written an article about my own “strange” encounters with a service provider.

Perhaps I am driven to write this, because in recent years – I find that the level of customer service has deteriorated to the point, whereby some of my friends have simply given up calling – because they keep getting the same illogical and nonsensical responses – not to mention the difficulty in communicating with the staff who answer calls – who increasingly seem to speak English which is beyond our normal comprehension which we are used to, living in Singapore.

Extracts from SingPost email of 9 May:

First, we would like to apologise for the inconveniences this has caused you.

Regarding your concern about your PO Box subscription, it would be helpful if you can share with me your feedback about the service for me to best assist you.

As I understand, you had a PO Box subscription previously under Bras Basah Road branch which was eventually relocated to Robinson Road branch on 2011. With the said event, you have received a notification for the transfer, but has not attended to your intent to terminate the service, and you have not surrendered the PO Box key to the post office.”

  • My P. O. Box was always at Robinson Road?? Why do they keep talking about Bras Basah Road branch?
  • As such, the PO Box rental has continued to be debited from your GIRO account. You have given us a call about your intent to terminate the service last March 2014, and the termination of the service only took effect 14 March 2014 as terminated.In line with this, kindly advise us on how this issue be resolved as there was no termination letter sent to us, and the PO Box key was not turned over accordingly.”
  • – How can my initial call to query the billing over the years be construed to be a call from me to “intent to terminate the service and thus the termination of the service only took effect 14 March as terminated”?
  • And they are asking me – “kindly advise us on how this issue be resolved as there was no termination letter sent to us”!
  • I give up! Wouldn’t you?
  • Does anyone have a similar experience or issue, or remember about what happened to the Robinson Road P. O. Boxes?

Case ID number: 1270639/1192813

P.S. After “Thank you for accepting my call on 17 March 2014.

Please be advised that we will be forwarding your concern to the PO Box section for further assistance. Kindly allow us more time to verify the PO Box account that has been paid via GIRO till date. An investigation will be created and will update you for any response.”

– There was silence for the next 38 days until 24 April – had to email to ask what was the status of their investigation.

There was also no response to the 24 April email – silence for a further 11 days – so, sent another email on 7 May asking again as to why the long silence and the status.

———- Forwarded message ———-

On Friday, May 9, 2014 10:30 AM, SingPost Customer Service <custsvcs@singpost.com> wrote:

This is in reference to your PO Box concern.I have attempted to call you back today, 9 May 2014, and was advised that you are currently not around. As such, I am sending you this email.

First, we would like to apologise for the inconveniences this has caused you.

Regarding your concern about your PO Box subscription, it would be helpful if you can share with me your feedback about the service for me to best assist you.

As I understand, you had a PO Box subscription previously under Bras Basah Road branch which was eventually relocated to Robinson Road branch on 2011. With the said event, you have received a notification for the transfer, but has not attended to your intent to terminate the service, and you have not surrendered the PO Box key to the post office.

As such, the PO Box rental has continued to be debited from your GIRO account.

You have given us a call about your intent to terminate the service last March 2014, and the termination of the service only took effect 14 March 2014 as terminated.

In line with this, kindly advise us on how this issue be resolved as there was no termination letter sent to us, and the PO Box key was not turned over accordingly.

For further enquires you may call us at 1605 from 8.00AM to 6.00PM, Monday to Friday and 8.00AM to 1.00PM on Saturday.

Yours Sincerely

Duty Manager
Customer Care & Excellence
Singapore Post Limited (Reg No. 199201623M)
www.singpost.com

Feb 28, 2013

I refer to the article “SingPost to set up new $ 10m fund for lower-income employees” (Straits Time, Feb 28, 2012).

$10m fund to help lower-income staff?

It states that “In accordance with the Government’s movement towards a more inclusive society, SingPost officially kicked off a $10 million fund today (Feb 28) to benefit its lower-income staff.

About 3,400 of SingPost’s 4,700-odd employees will benefit from the fund, These are employees with monthly incomes ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000. Depending on their income bracket, the fund aims to supplement each staff member with an additional $ 300 to $ 500 per annum.”

No employees earn less than $ 2,000?

I am somewhat puzzled by “About 3,400 of SingPost’s 4,700-odd employees will benefit from the fund, These are employees with monthly incomes ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000″ – does this mean that there are no employees who earn less than $ 2,000?

Do all the postman who deliver the mail to our homes and offices earn at least $ 2,000?

How many postman are employees and contract workers?

Are postman who may be contract workers considered as employees?

How many postman are employees and how many are contract workers?

I have spoken to a few postman and they say they earn over a thousand dollars.

One postman family’s child’s questions?

In this connection, a posting on the Reach forum in May, 2012, said

“Hi Mr Tan!

Both my parents are employees of Singapore Post. They are one of the many neighborhood postman/postwoman who work tirelessly day in and day out, making sure letters are been delivered on time to the residents.

My mother is a postwoman for more then 10 years; my father more then 5 years. All these years, they do not have any CPF contributions, leave benefit, medical benefits or even basic insurance coverage. Their working hours are long. Usually they start work at 1pm, depending on what time the letters are send to their area, and depending on the amount of letters, they usually end work at around 8pm. I remembered alot of times, my parents came home after 8pm, feeling tired, but they have no complains. And this routine goes on and on for years.

There were times when my parents got injured while at work, but they cant claim from the company, just because they are part timers and they have no medical benefits. There were times when we wanted to bring them overseas for holidays, but company don’t allow because they do not have any leave benefits. At times, the company will give reasons like: “sorry, you can’t go on leave, because there are not enough people covering your area”. What is this? Does the company want the neighborhood postman/postwoman to work day in day out, giving up their time with their kids or even grandchildren? This is too much.

Having to work for such long hours, Monday to Friday, rain or shine, there’s no CPF contributions or even the basic benefits a worker should be entitled to, is this fair to them and all other neighborhood postman/postwoman working out there?

This matter have been brought up to Singapore Post for a long time, but all the replies they gave sounds like they are not going to do anything about it. Which is why, I decided to bring this matter to your attention on behalf of the postman/postwoman out there.

My questions are:

– Are neighborhood postman/postwoman entitled to CPF contribution given their long working hours?

– Are they not entitled to medical and annual leave benefits?

So Mr Tan, I hope you can look into this matter. And I hope to hear from you soon.

LI WEIMING

* The above was first posted as a comment on Mr Tan’s Facebook page. Mr Tan has replied he will follow up on it.”

Singpost’s reply

I understand that Singpost’s reply was as follows:-

 

Wage Credit Scheme?

Does it mean that the postman who are on contract and are not employees, may not benefit from the 40 per cent subsidy for wage increase in the next three years, under the Wage Credit Scheme?

When were contract rates last increased?

When was the last time that the postman contract rates were increased.

Do postman become contract workers?

Looking back in history, do postman who are employees become contract workers, and if so, how many have done so?

Please help

I would like to ask for the help of those who work as postman, or if you have a relative or friend who is a postman – please share with us the pay, working hours and work conditions of a postman. Please also share with us your life experience as a postman.”

Jun 19, 2007

“What is Singapore Post up to?

I thought no organisation is to price in the 2% GST increase to the consumers? In his reply to Leong Sze Hian, Tay Poh Choo, a VP from SingPost said, ‘As a GST registered company, Singpost collects GST on behalf of the Govt. In this exercise, we would like to assure the public that there will be no increase in revenue for Singpost.’ And the 1c increase in postage is exactly 2%. Ok, accepted. And Singpost will absorb the 2% increase for all other local weight steps. ‘We will return 1% of the franked postage to franked mail customers from 1 July.’ Puzzled, 2%, 1%? Why take all the trouble?

About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.