A town without a post office, they fired the only worker

Javier Villoldo is the only employee of Correo Argentino in Corcovado, a town located 90 kilometers south of Esquel, in Chubut. He fulfills a multi-functional role: he is a postman, window attendant, coordinator and even responsible for cleaning and maintenance. He carries out all tasks with an immense vocation. Days ago, he received a telegram that surprised him. After 30 years of experience, he was fired from his job. The town of 3,000 inhabitants, as well as many others throughout the country, is left without mail service.

“On April 26, they fired me. Without any justification. That day, I worked like any normal day, at two o’clock I closed the office and left everything ready for Monday. Half an hour later, my colleagues at Esquel told me that they had a dismissal telegram to send me by fax. It was a bucket of cold water”said this 52-year-old man. And he added: “It is a brief telegram where they say that due to restructuring, they are dispensing with my services.”.

Villoldo started working at Correo Argentino at the end of 1997. At that time, he was hired. Three years later, he became permanent. He started as a postman in Esquel, went on to serve the public and filled positions in one-person offices when the bosses went on vacation. In 2004 he took over the Corcovado branch.

“It is a one-person office that does everything a large post office does, with two or three mailmen, a ticket clerk, a treasurer, people who do cleaning and maintenance. I did all that alone“, summarized.

In the last few hours, the Federation of Postal and Telecommunications Workers and Employees (FOECYT) expressed its concern about the layoffs at the Argentine Post Office that They have already reached 500 employees.
The general secretary of the union, Alberto Cejas, pointed out that the layoffs are part of “a broader pattern of dismantling of human resources in state companies” and warned that office closures are occurring in rural areas, which directly impact the communities. who depend on the postal service for access to basic services.

The neighbors did not allow the postmaster to enter. Photo: courtesy

The small post office branch in Corcovado began to operate 45 years ago at the request of the neighbors that, until that moment, they had to travel long kilometers to Esquel or Trevelín, along gravel roads, to send or receive their correspondence.

“This reminds me of those towns that grew up along the train tracks. When the train disappeared, many towns disappeared too. If we take away the fundamental offices from the small towns in the interior, they will be forgotten,” said Villoldo, while recalling that the Corcovado post office absorbs two other small towns (Carrenleufú and Cerro Centinela).

Being a border town that is only 18 kilometers from Chile, many Chileans also receive their parcels there.

Closing time is 1:30 p.m., but you always stay a little longer for a neighbor who needs a hand. “We are there all day,”

Javier Villoldo, 52 years old.

He admitted that with the internet and WhatsApp, the way of communicating changed and with it, the job of the postman. “Letters are no longer sent like before or greeting telegrams. But the paper format still exists. The bank, the civil registry, the police station continue to operate with documentation”, he highlighted and recalled that today, they work largely with the parcel delivery service and online purchases.

“Now the closest thing we have is the Trevelín branch, 80 kilometers away along a gravel road, a mountain road, with harsh winters. Many times, it is cut off and we cannot travel. Furthermore, in a context in which, for today to travel 80 kilometers, it means 20 thousand pesos of fuel,” he indicated.

The people that resist

Last Monday, the zonal head of the Argentine Postal Service landed in Corcovado with the intention of dismantling the branch offices, but the neighbors gathered at the headquarters prevented him from carrying out the order by telling him that they would not allow him to enter the office. The chief notified his immediate superior and filed the complaint at the town police station.

The people are standing. We are not responsible for what happens in the country. I’m just a worker”, he warned.

He assures that he does not want compensation, he only asks to be reinstated at the post office. “I gave 27 years of my life to this job. It’s all a lack of consideration. You feel like you are just another number within the company,” Villoldo objected and added: “I thought I was going to retire with a bang with everything I gave, with so much commitment, loyalty and responsibility. And today, I’m on the street idle, not knowing what to do”.

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