Poll: Should Post Offices Close & Reduce Staff?

November 18, 2013

[Updated] The Post Office has over 100 too many staff, stands to lose $134 million in the next decade, and Government should close most the post offices and reduce staff, the recently released SAGE report said.

SAGE called the Post Office a “costly example of the consequences of not implementing change” and said it has seen mail volumes declining by 1 million pieces [7%] per year.

This is largely due to the global trend towards digital communications, with today’s times seeing a reliance on email rather than postal mail.

SAGE said the Post Office is 80% overstaffed [over 100 too many staff] with 90% of operating costs in salaries. In August 2013, the Postmaster General said staffing was reduced from 232 to 196 since November 2011.


VOTE: Should Govt. close Post Offices and reduce staff?

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The report said the last decade saw losses of $56 million [compared to $7m loss and $1m profit in prior decades] and said if no action is taken, losses of approximately $134 million are projected over the next decade.

The latest budget [PDF] showed that in 2011/12 the Post Office had $5.37 million in revenue and $13.98 million in expenses, creating a loss of approximately $8.6 million that year – or around $23,500 a day.

According to the Post Office’s website there are 13 post offices: Sandys, Hamilton Parish and the City of Hamilton all have two, while Southampton, Warwick, Paget, Devonshire, Smiths, St George’s and St David’s have one each.

The SAGE Commission recommended that Government close all post offices but three — one in Hamilton, one in the East and one in the West — with the buildings they are located in to be sold, rented or repurposed.

They also recommended ceasing mail delivery to houses and businesses, putting cluster boxes in each parish, and reducing staff to the level needed to service the post offices and deliver mail to the cluster boxes.

Update: As of November 2013, the Post Office currently employs 172 people.

The relevant portion of the SAGE Report is below:

Bermuda Post Office: a costly example of the consequences of not implementing change


The Bermuda Post Office, similar to its counterparts in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, is suffering from a decline in the volume of mail it handles.

In the 2011 Report by Government’s Management Consultancy Services, it was noted that mail volumes in Bermuda were declining by 1 million pieces (7%) per year.

In addition:

  • The Post Office is at least 80% overstaffed (over 100 too many staff), with 90% of operating costs in salaries.
  • Mail volumes at loss-making sub post offices are projected to be insignificant by 2015.
  • Direct/junk mail, the Post Office’s sales growth line, is not part of the Universal Service Obligation under which the Post Office operates.
  • The last decade saw cumulative losses of $56 million (compared to $7 million loss and $1 million profit in prior decades)
  • It is clear that the Post Office’s current business model is no longer sustainable. If no action is taken, losses of approximately $134 million are projected over the next decade.
  •  These observations were gathered from a number of reports in the possession of the Government going back many years which recognised that the Post Office was no longer sustainable and very overstaffed yet nothing was done.


  • Given global trends to digital communication, the current business model for the Bermuda Post Office is not sustainable.


  • Close all post offices, but leaving 3 post offices to be located as follows: one in Hamilton serving the central parishes, one in the East and one in the West serving parishes in their area. The Eastern and Western Post Offices should be located on bus routes for ease of access for those who do not drive cars or bikes.
  • Once redundant sub post offices have been closed, the buildings in which they are located should be sold, rented or repurposed. The preferred option would be to sell the buildings and use funds raised to pay down the national debt.
  • Cease mail delivery to houses and businesses; construct cluster boxes as in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Cluster boxes should be located in each parish.
  • Reduce staff to the level needed to service 3 post offices and deliver mail to the cluster boxes

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Comments (63)

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Three Sub-Post Offices To Close On Nov 1st | Bernews.com | April 29, 2014
  1. Say Say Say says:

    The Bermuda Post Office has been beyond pathetic for many years. Having to address a letter to “P O Box HM123, Hamilton, HMBX”. is beyond ridiculous.

    HM123 so they know its in Hamilton
    Hamilton so they know its in Hamilton
    HMBX – you guessed it, so they know its in Hamilton

    How many times do you really have to write Hamilton or HM. Who ever thought of that obviously ain’t got both oars in the water.

    And if you don’t put the third one – HMBX – they send it back.

    Must be the most inefficient organization in the entire world.

    A national embarrassment.

    Fire them all I’d say.

    • The Cold Truth says:

      The cold hard truth is that TIMES HAVE CHANGED and we must change with the times. Does the US still employ PONY EXPRESS workers? Do they still have STAGECOACH drivers on their government payroll? No, they don’t. Post Offices are obsolete. Yes, people will need to find new jobs. That happens all the time. We can’t continue to keep people on a payroll just for the sake of not wanting them to lose their jobs. Time to tear the Band-Aid off. Just do it and get it over with.

      • Say Say Say says:

        Cold Truth you are so correct. I recently heard of a man who was well known way back and went around emptying everyone’s cesspits all day in his horse n cart for a fee, and then selling the ‘result’ to a farmer at the day’s end.

        What a brilliant working model, making money at both ends so to speak, until everyone in Bermy started to get inside plumbing.

        Apparently the poor man eventually died a broken, penniless failure because he just didn’t understand that he had to change his business model. His work became less and less and he sat and did nothing about it and wondering where his business went.

        We in Bermuda are collectively like this man. We need to change or we will fade into insignificance and poverty.

        There is a lesson here!!!

  2. bluebird says:

    Bermuda is “BROKE” to the tune of (5)$5BILLON dollars

  3. :) says:

    I hope they do not do this! I go to the post office regularly. It’s understaffed now. The line in parcel post can get terrible at times. If they were to force more than one parish to collect from one spot it would be terrible and only cause people to use U.S. Express or another courier more often. I live in Warwick. If they close most branches, would that mean I’d have to go to Somerset to collect my packages?! Ridiculous!

    • Ignorance is not Bliss says:

      Buy Bermuda – help the economy and eliminate the need to queue to collect incoming parcels!

      • Kangoocar says:

        You are absolutely spot on!!! When will people understand this??? Also all Bermudians need to understand that even government has to pay back all they borrowed which simply means we will be paying for it soon!!! For some reason and I make no apologies for saying that it, it mostly is the plp supporters that think what government borrows will never affect them, silly thinking and I will just go on to say we just can’t keep people employed for the sake of keeping them employed!!! MONEY BORROWED IS MONEY THAT HAS TO BE PAID BACK!!!!

      • :) says:

        Tell me how would I “Buy Bermuda” if no merchant carries the items I am ordering?? Until the selection is better I will continue to order online.

        • Kangoocar says:

          If you and everyone else continues to order online, how on earth do you think the merchants can afford more inventory??? People that do this are the first ones to wonder why they can’t get a job??? This is the time to support your local economy because if we ALL don’t, non of us will have money to do anything, and that includes ordering online!! Yet again after we all starve to death it won’t matter will it???

          • :) says:

            Its not about more. Its about a variety! That merchant is not going to bring in one item just because I want it. The pool is not big enough in Bermuda for them to bring in the variety of items how they do in major stores in the U.S.. Away you have a selection. In Bermuda, you do not! The buyers for these stores are only going to bring in whats popular and will sell out. So again, I will order online until that changes!

  4. bermuda boy says:

    Please…Please Bermuda, stop talking and do something. Deal with the casino question, maybe a lot of people could be retrained to work there. Fast track Planning applications, maybe some could be retrained to work there, as helpers. Maybe or maybe not but lets stop talking and do something.

    • Family Man says:

      Casino’s make money on the turnover. They need to deal hands quickly and accurately. That isn’t a job for former postal workers.

      • Suzie Quattro says:

        Casino workers have to turn up for work in the rain as well.

  5. aceboy says:



    The post office is becoming obsolete and we certainly shouldn’t be spending millions on this overstaffed and under worked government department.

  6. Beyond2 says:

    As long as I am not held accountable when my bills arrive 2 months later than they should. :-)

  7. campervan says:

    When you had a leader who used to spend 4 grand a night of our money on hotel rooms and other such excesses something has to give. In this case it will be the jobs of the postal workers. He’s alright though.

  8. Dangel says:

    @:)says If they were to force more than one parish to collect from one spot it would be terrible and only cause people to use U.S. Express or another courier more often.

    Good point … but who owns U.S. Express???

    • haha says:

      Steven Thomson of Mailboxes

    • Ignorance is not Bliss says:

      What does it matter who owns courier companies?

      If they (Courier companies) are efficient they make a profit, employ people, pay taxes, pay for office space etc. etc. If they are inefficient they go out of business and people are unemployed and no revenue flow to Government.

      • Somebody's Momma says:

        I use courier and I use post office. I must say the Post Office staff were more courteous.

  9. thief says:

    The recent denands made by the post office – in particular, mandatory postal codes – forced us to find other ways to conduct life and business. It was extremely inconvenient to lose a reliable service. To every postal worker who supported these changes at the time, may you be inconvenienced without sympathy, and may god bless you and your attitude in whatever you end up doing.

  10. Need a Bidder says:

    They should be privatised entities of Government. Sell them off.

  11. Navin R. Johnson says:

    The line in parcel post is always long because one person is behind the counter counting something and another is writing something and one is actually waiting on people while the rest are either going on break and closing down or coming back from break and opening up again….same with customs….so many staff and nothing seemingly gets done…..gone are the days when we were awash with cash with little debt and the harsh reality is we are broke with a 3 year window to get it back on course otherwise another exodus ……

  12. ganja mon says:

    When will govt workers realize they are under worked compared to the rest of us Bermudians that actually work for our pay check.

    Its time to get off your arse and get into the “real” work force.

  13. tricks are for kids.... says:

    Be careful what you vote for………today it could be them …tomorrow it could be YOU……

    We are in for even more pressing times….we however, are not reaching a solution by constantly rehashing about the money that the PLP spent…..it is gone…..no amount of reaping will get it back…..I don’t have a solution that will benefit EVERYONE but one thing I know for sure is that constantly bringing up the past is NOT the way forward……

    • Hmmmm says:

      It is massive to bring up why these changes are happening. It’s not just the money spent, it’s the ongoing contracts and burdens that are still costing us today. If the massive jobs increases in the Civil Service positions had not been created, then folks would have looked to the Private Sector, where the PLP dished out the work Permits galore.

      PLP screwed over Bermudians and pretended all was fine. It’s huge to realise that. OBA came into a burning building are putting out the flames and will build from the wreckage, whilst the PLP Jackals try to score points using the media to manipulate people and all just to try to get back into power, by being divisive and pretending to give a damn about Bermudians.

      • tricks are for kids.... says:

        I understand what YOU are saying….However, MY point is that it makes no sense to continually bring up what has already been done….It makes no sense…. we should not keep focusing on ‘”What was” but instead “Where do we go from here”…….Incesant “rehashing” is not going to fix the problem……

        • aceboy says:

          There has been NO acknowledment that fault lies with the PLP and in fact they have attempted to deflect blame from themselves to pretty much anyone and anything but them. Until they admit they are responsible that will will be made continuously. In case you haven’t noticed we are debating a cost cutting exercise here…what are your thoughts?

          • While you’re so busy trying to bring the subject (which I am aware of by the way) of the article to my attention I have yet to see a solution byyou … I still stand behind what I say (apologies in advance if you or anyone else doesn’t agree) REHASHING is NOT the solution…….I am already assisting by forfeiting a days salary per month. ……what are YOU doing?????….However, with that said…..before I digress any further..
            As far as the Post offices go I feel that there should be a post office located in the western end of the island, one in the eastern end of the eastern end of the Island and have the main post office remain centrally located as Is…….

        • Mike Hind says:

          The SAGE report and suggestions are, in fact, “Where do we go from here”.
          There are plans. There is focus on “Where do we go from here?”
          That doesn’t mean that pointing out that there is responsibility on the part of the PLP, especially when so many people keep saying “Stop talking about the past!”… and ESPECIALLY when those same people are taking hypocritical jabs at the Government, isn’t valid.

          When the folks who got us into this mess present themselves as the folks who can best fix it, it’s a perfectly ok response to say, “Um… YOU did this!”

        • Toodle-oo says:

          *However, MY point is that it makes no sense to continually bring up what has already been done….It makes no sense…. we should not keep focusing on ‘”What was” but instead “Where do we go from here”…….Incesant “rehashing” is not going to fix the problem……*

          Just out of curiosity , do you feel the same way about people who keep harping on about slavery and they weren’t even there ?

          • Actually I do feel the same way…..whilst it is a good thing to know ones history and where they originated from we cannot “undo” slavery……it HAPPENED……..

    • Navin R. Johnson says:

      Reaping will not get it back but undoing as many of their failed policies will help

  14. bermuda boy says:

    Rude lady behind the PO counter, don’t you now wish you liked your job rather than just being there. Remember telling us to go to mailboxs because you couldn’t be bothered to help us. Hope you know how to fish because that’s all you may be eating :-)

    • Expat says:

      Seriously. What’s up with their attitude? I’m just trying to send a letter. Especially the lady working at the post office in Hamilton. I would have thought I killed her family or something judging by the way she talked to me and other customers.

  15. Wondering says:

    I think it’s a good idea to consolidate the post offices and just transfer some of the people to the new locations to help better serve the customers.

    The post office in Hamilton is so tired that they only have one or two people downstairs and it takes them ages because they have to hand write things out so why not invest in technology and get it all computerized to save us all time.

  16. 1minute says:

    They should keep, Hamilton, Warwick, Mangrove Bay, Flatts & St Georges, plus Perot (for the tourist). Close the others.
    Deliver mail twice a week, East-end Monday & Thursday, West-end, Tuesday & Fridays.

    • Lightning says:

      Delivering mail twice a week would be a 100% increase in deliveries since they currently only deliver once a week (if that and IF it isn’t raining).

  17. Kiskadee says:

    Close most of the post offices. Mail delivery is a disgrace. I no longer use the post office . I send birthday greetings etc on the computer. If the postal code is incorrect mail is returned . They don’t stop to think of the cost of the card, stamps etc and the disappointment at not receiving the card

  18. Suzie Quattro says:

    Me too. If they are required to deliver mail twice a week in all weathers they will probably claim they need more people than they have now. Particularly if they are prevented from returning thousands of letters a year for reasons like the comma being missing after the house number.

  19. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    The problem Bermuda Government People have is simple…they havnt grasped one simple fact.

    THEY WORK FOR JOE Q.PUBLIC!..NOT the Government,hows that they ask…the bloody government is US.

    as for the Post Office,it’s days are over!we dont need 10 Post Offices for a 21 mile Island.

  20. Malachi says:

    When I was a boy, the postman rode a bicycle and delivered mail rain, blow or shine.

    Today, the postman gets a FREE motorbike, a FREE helmet, and a FREE raincoat, and they don’t deliver in the rain.

    And I am still upset over the fact that I had to spend time and money to place my mailbox beside the road. The original mailbox was on the side of my house, on a paved driveway about ten feet off the main roThe postman didn’t even have to get off his bike!

    But the new rules said this required too much effort on the part of the postman.

    So yes, all we need is three Post Offices.

    Will some lose their jobs? Yes, of course. But it is hard to feel sorry for group who had good jobs but didn’t appreciate them

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *When I was a boy, the postman rode a bicycle and delivered mail rain, blow or shine.*

      So , you’re quite a bit older than I thought you were .. lol

  21. Photographer says:

    Close them all except Hamilton. 21 mile island.

  22. Argosy says:

    It’s amazing that it’s taken this long for this problem to be identified and an awareness that it needs to be dealt with. E-mail has been around for years and this, combined with the IB exodus surely heralded the need to reduce the snail mail component. Now, it’s another “the sky is falling” moment in BDA!

  23. Silence Do Good says:

    I like the Cayman model of everyone gets a PO Box and I can go get my mail which is minimal anyways due to the internet and e-mails. I got my mail address right and communicated my entire address to all my correspondant and have seen better service for doing so. Until recently in Mangrove Bay when my post person was on vacation and had no mail delivery in weeks. When I inquired they told me to collect my mail from the office which I did and liked my little outings. However, everyday I say the other postmen in the office just sitting around doing noting. Well if that is their attitude with my tax dollars then I will collect my mail and those postmen can sit at home at no cost to me.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I have never been able to figure out why a PO box, which saves the PO money because they do not have to deliver to me, but cost me even more because I have to go & pick up, costs money. They cost even more than a safe deposit box in a bank.

      Go figure.

  24. Voter says:

    If I have a parcel at st George’s post office, they very conveniently open at 8 so I can pick it up before I head to work (and yes I shop Bermuda, unless it is something I just cannot get here)
    If, however, I live in Hamilton parish and work in Paget, when and where would I be able to pick up my parcel?

  25. Alvin Williams says:

    As a former postal worker of some 41 years now retired; I have this opinion on the possible closure of the post office.
    It is true that the post office has steady losing income to to it’s failure to complete. But that was a policy decision; it was no way that the Post office should have allowed itself to lose out to the mailbox unlimited; Fedx or DHL in the mailing or precessing of parcels and packages. They let those entities take over what was an area that the post office once dominated. That became a major lost of revenue for the post office and began the process of the post office running a deficit. Even though the American post office continues to lose money; There is one thing that you can not say that they do not do and that is to complete with their competitors. In many ways the Bermuda Post office was slow in putting in certain important reforms that would have greatly enhance the delivery of mail. I am into the system when it was the postman knew who lived in every household he had to deliver. But as more and more foreign workers came to live in different neighbourhoods and as Bermudians began to move out of what could be called traditional areas where their families had always lived; that ability of the postman
    knowing who lived in his delivery area began to break down. It was much to late when the post office asked; not required residents to put up numbers on their houses. I will tell you some of the stories I heard when that was requested. The government should give me the number was the reply of many. They just could not go down town to in many cases buy a two dollar number to but up on their houses. Mail boxes were another problem; I can tell you a story about that too. There was one particular
    house were I delivered the mail; no mail box so I had to put the mail under the door; whereupon I could hear the dog ribbing the mails to pieces. I used to be a union shop steward and in Joint meetings with management; I remember advancing the idea that planning permission for a condo complex or office building should not be granted unless some provision for the building of cluster boxes were made. No’ No’ that can’t be done was the answer. I think they have finally made some type of law in that regard; years after I had raise the idea; but in many houses still there no number put up. Another thing and I don’t want to be critical of some of the Postmasters I worked under; most did the best they could in managing the post office; but for the most part they were not professional postal people; many in fact had to learn about the workings of a postal system on the job. Now the changes put forward by the Sage commission regarding the post office. No more home delivery; good luck weeding Bermudians off that. This is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years when the postman used to ride a horse to deliver the mail. I myself rode a push bike for many years before the postal services gave us motor bikes. Three areas for mail? well you are going to built thousands of cluster boxes to serve the parish in Bermuda; causing thousands of dollars. The trouble that the post office had to get people to provide proper the mailing addresses; even some of these International Business companies were very reluctant to tell the postman
    who they were getting mail from and their proper mailing address and we know why that was so. I experience it because I had to deliver mail to both residential and offices and you are going to tell people to change their mailing addresses to be put in the now vast postal cluster box centre and to top it off you will probably asked for payment especially as I suspect that will be put in private hands to run. I not going to deny some changes will have to be made with regard to reforms in the post office; but the question I ask are we ready for the consequences if the recommendations put forward by Sage are put into effect?

    • Postman Pat says:

      Professional Postal People? How much brain power does it take Mr Williams? I don’t know of many Posties who recite logarithmic tables on their rounds. No. Posties are not people of academia are they? If they were even of average intelligence, they might have done their job and not lost everything to private enterprise. As long as I have lived in Bermuda (45 years) the service has been an embarrassment. The sooner it is eliminated, the sooner our complete waste of $$$$$$$ will be saved. However, what we will do with all those totally unemployable people is a problem.

    • Cinderella says:

      Where is this “vast postal cluster box centre”???
      Perhaps I should go there for the Christmas cards sent last year by my seniors who don’t use computers & can’t afford internet, …..and that refund check that was “in the mail”.

      On a serious note, we have received great service from our postie every weekday for many years. I guess when I get unable to travel to town, I would need to pay someone to collect my mail from my postbox in Hamilton to bring it to my table….Is that what would be the next new business?

  26. Lennie says:

    We should follow the example of the Cayman Islands where all mail is only delivered to a mailbox. Everyone is required to rent a mailbox which are located at Post Offices around the Island (similar sized to Bermuda) They have a central branch for which all Retail needs are met. This would eliminate a lot of the workforce. Big decisions need to be made and obviously with the changes in the way the population sends and receives mail an actual bricks and mortar Post Office is obsolete.

  27. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Post offices should go the way of the UK…go take a fact finding visit and see for yourself!

  28. Accountant says:

    OBA,just do it.
    A central,eastern and western facility,for all to go pick up their own mail.

  29. godson says:

    Understanding the need to reshape the way the postal servcice is being run, how can we suggest just “get rid of people”..do we understand the consequenses of people losing their jobs? What about their families? Kids? Bills? Other obligations?… Why not lower their wages? We know that Gov’t workers get overpaid for what they do (from the top down), but you can’t just throw people out anf tell them to “go find a way”….that leads to some of the social ills that we have… Simple–firing 1 person = $60,000 saved….$200 off of 3,000 workers= $60,000 saved….at least people will still have a job…We cannot be so focused on $$$$$, that we put people’s lives at risk…Their are alternatives to just “firing people”, in order to save $$$…If not their will be more robbing, looting, and crimnes being committed, which would mean, there will be NO foreign investment coming here!!! Start by lowering wages!!!Save Electricity (go solar on gov’t buildings), rotate work schedule, so everyond gets to share the sacrifice…there has to be other ways of saving- peace

  30. godson says:


  31. Funny says:

    only fools want to minimizes their options.
    it will be so funny when the private company rase thier fees because there is no other options.

  32. Triangle Drifter says:

    Even downsized & operating lean & mean a private entity is going to need a Government subsidy. Whatever that will be is going to be pittance the money thrown against the wall now for people who either don’t produce or don’t have anything to do.

  33. Alvin Williams says:

    To express the opinion that you don’t need professional people to run the
    Post office show your lack of understanding of the inner workings of the post office which includes management of relations with other Postal jurisdictions on the question of the movement of mail and other aspects to do with the world wide postal system; probably one of the world’s most enduring international relationships between nations. And yes I was a postman for 41 years and I did often think well how can this be done better. And as a union shop steward attending many JC meeting between union and management many aspects of the running of the post office was brought up and often it is the worker on the shop floor that has a clear understanding of how to more effectively run things and the smart manger will take such ideas to heart. But with respect to the Sage findings concerning the Post office; I think they only look at the fiscal position which is important I am not going to deny that; But I am putting forward the case that there are other aspects to do with Bermuda’s postal system that perhaps will only make their appearance after we have made drastic decisions.

  34. Clara says:

    I hope the good workers are the ones kept on. When I lived in Pembroke, I had a very friendly and efficient postie who delivered most days, and always with a smile and a wave. What a difference when I moved to Paget and I got a surly one who delivered once a week.