Nigeria: NIPOST Threatens to Withhold Katsina Mails over Unpaid Bills
Katsina — The Nigerian Postal Service has threatened to withhold mails for the 34 local government councils of Katsina State for failing to pay for services rendered to them.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Katsina, postal manager in the state, Alex Bature, said despite several letters sent to the councils, they have refused to settle debts amounting to N3 million.
Bature added that hundreds of sensitive mails meant for the councils are at the state headquarters of the postal services.
"We visited the local government councils but it was difficult to see the council chairmen to register our complaints," he said.
He said though the postal service is not a profit making organization, individuals and organizations should endeavour to pay for services rendered to them so they can in turn solve their financial problems.
Meanwhile, Bature said the postal service has entered an agreement with the state ministry of education for prompt payment, adding that a substantial amount of money has already been released to them.
US Postal Service Returns Money Lost in Moneygram Scams
The US Postal Service delivered gifts to thousands of consumers last month who were victims of scams involving Moneygram. Millions of dollars are being returned to people who thought they lost it all.
Fraud victim Wanda Wood explained, “One morning I answered the phone… and this a young fella said “hi Grandma”…”
Wanda says the voice sounded like her grandson, Matt. She became concerned when he said he was in Canada and needed help: $4500 wired to him immediately.
“I really and truly thought it was Matt. The kid sounded like him," said Wanda
She wired the money via Moneygram, but con artists intercepted it along with funds sent by hundreds of others who were targeted in the scheme.
“I was really disappointed. There I was out of $4500," lamented Wanda
The Justice Department found Moneygram in violation of processing thousands of transactions for individuals known to be involved in scams.
“The corrupt agents converted the money transfers to cash in a manner that maintained the anonymity of fraudsters," said US Postal Inspector Nick Alicea.
Moneygram profited from the scheme by collecting fees and other revenues on the fraudulent transactions. Schemes included “the grandparent scam” that lured in Wanda, as well as secret shopper scams and sweepstakes or lottery scams.
Don Golden’s mother lost $60,000 and came close to losing her home.
Don explained, “She decided that she didn't have the money to pay her school taxes because she was putting all of her money in this sweepstakes activity.”
Money gram has agreed to pay $100 million for its role in the scam between 2004 and 2009.
“This in my mind is a milestone day because we are seeing some justice for my mother and my family," Don said.
Postal inspectors will distribute $46 million to almost 18,000 victims or family members of scam victims across the country. Victims are grateful.
Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by the Moneygram scheme is urged to visit justice.gov for instructions on how to file a request for compensation.
Union: Don’t Fill Staples Jobs with Non-Postal Employees
A union representing U.S. Postal Service employees is staging protests later this month against a pilot program that opened retail postal spaces at Staples office supply locations, complaining the resulting jobs are staffed by non-postal workers.
The Postal Service reached an agreement with Staples in October 2013 to put retail units in more than 80 stores, with the possibility of expanding dramatically, to create a “one-stop shopping” experience for customers.
Staples, however, has staffed the postal areas with its own employees. For the American Postal Workers Union, this represents a lost opportunity to grow services using postal employees whom USPS customers can trust.
“This is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,” said APWU’s President Mark Dimondstein. “The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail. Postal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.”
The contract between Staples and the Postal Service allows the retailer to use its own employees.
APWU first will meet with Staples store managers by Jan. 18 to express their concerns, particularly that postal-related positions within their stores are being filled by “low-wage, non-union, non-postal employees.” Then the union will organize a day of action and subsequent protests.
The Postal Service said it respects the right of its employees to protest, but fell short of offering any conciliation.
“The U.S. Postal Service recognizes and respects the right of its employees to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Darlene Reid-DeMeo, an agency spokeswoman. “Postal Service employees who choose to participate in picketing activities must do so while off-duty and abide by all local laws regarding public gatherings.”
USPS’ pilot program has launched in five metropolitan areas and is the first in the agency’s retail partner expansion program, designed to “increase choices customers have on where and when they can purchase postal products and services.” More than 80 percent of postal products and services are available at the participating Staples locations.
Reid-DeMeo said the Staples pilot program is similar to its existing Contract Postal Units, which allow customers to buy stamps at a pharmacy store, and its Village Post Offices where customers can use postal services inside of a local grocery store, for example. These locations also are not staffed by postal employees.
Austrian Post has ruled out laying off thousands of postal workers as it continues to adjust its network to falling mail volumes. The national postal service in Austria issued a “clear denial” of local newspaper reports today, stating that it was “simply wrong” to state that it has plans for a wave of job cuts. The newspaper reports had suggested that 9,000 mail staff were currently in fear of losing their jobs.
The Finnish postal service announced extensive job cuts on Thursday, and plans to lay off 1,200 letter carriers. The state enterprise only has itself to blame for its present financial difficulties, the liberal daily Savon Sanomat comments:
The government hopes that people will react positively to the restructuring. But hardly anyone will be happy that the state-owned enterprise Itella wants to slash 1,200 jobs, a move that will only make its service worse than it already is. The cuts will barely be felt in the cities, but the inhabitants of more sparsely-inhabited regions are not in an enviable position.
… The company’s management can justify the staff cuts by pointing to new technologies. But it only has itself to blame for the fact that fewer letters, newspapers and packages are being sent by mail. Parcel deliveries will soon be so expensive that it’ll be cheaper to get in the car and deliver your packages yourself.