Mail carriers have criticized the government’s request for its agencies to turn off air-conditioning between 1pm and 3pm for two weeks to save electricity, saying that they would be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses if they are asked to work in an enclosed environment without cool air.
The Executive Yuan ordered implementation of the measure to raise the nation’s operating electricity reserve after a transmission tower at Heping Power Plant last week fell over due to Typhoon Nesat.
The policy also stipulated that the air-conditioning temperature should be set no lower than 28?C.
Following the order, state-run Chunghwa Post asked that the air-conditioners in all of its facilities be turned to fan mode or be shut down between 1pm and 3pm.
Mail carriers begin deliveries at 8:30am and return to the office between 12:30pm and 1pm, the hottest part of the day, Chunghwa Post Workers’ Union president Cheng Kuang-ming (鄭光明) said.
“When they return from delivering mail, their body temperature could reach 40?C, but they happen to return when the air-conditioning is supposed to be switched off,” Cheng said.
“Working in a enclosed environment without air-conditioning could cause them to suffer heat stroke, heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses,” he added.
Carriers working in the nation’s center and south would have an even harder time than those in the north, as the weather there is hotter, Cheng said, adding that even though they were told that they can open windows, the wind that blows inside is often hot.
“From pension reform to the power shortage problem, the government has been enforcing its policies starting with civil servants, but it should consider the conditions faced by different workers and set different standards accordingly,” he said, adding that the union has to speak up for its members.
Chunghwa Post said that the company has created a contingency plan in response to the Executive Yuan’s order and that air-conditioners would be turned on in post offices and the mail processing departments nationwide.
The company is also to ensure that air-conditioners are functioning at a proper temperature, it said.
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