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Brazil postmen

Historic references

Every year, on January 25, the Brazilian mail and telegraph company celebrates the Postman day.  

The date celebrates the memory of creation, on January 25, 1663, of Brazil Correio-Mor, whose first holder was  Luiz Gomes da Matta Neto, who was already Correio-Mor of the kingdom, in Portugal.  

With the appointment, the post office in Brazil began to work as a parastatal organization and was qualified to receive and expedite the whole kingdom correspondence.

On December 19 of the same year, João Cavaleiro Cardoso was appointed to Correio-Mor assistant in Rio de Janeiro captaincy.

It is worth remembering that the word ‘correio’ also means postman, messenger, though postman service, as we know it today, has only begun in Brazil during the Regence period, in the 19th century.

Even with the creation of Correio-Mor in Colonial Brazil, the delivery of correspondences until the middle of 19th century was very precarious. People were reluctant to pay mail services, and would rather use free labor, like muleteers, bandeirantes (expedition members) and slaves.

In Brazilian postal history there is an outstanding postman: Paulo Bregaro, who took to the prince, D. Pedro, the news from Portugal that would result in Brazil Independence.

The words pronounced by Counselor José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, while recommending haste in correspondences delivery, summarizes the postman work: "Tear and tire as many horses as necessary, but deliver the letter urgently” – according to one version.  "If it does not tear a dozen horses on the way, it will never be mail; attention to what you do!” – according to other version.

For his deed, Paulo Bregaro is Correios patron.

In 1835 the court mail started home delivery of correspondences. So far, by the 1829 regulation, only commercial houses and private people who paid an annual contribution (10 to 20 thousand réis) were entitled to this service.

In 1852, telegraph was introduced in Brazil and people who delivered telegrams were called messengers.  Postman was the name used exclusively for post office services. Today the work postman is used both for delivery of letters and telegrams.  

The General Telegraph Department was separated from Post office department; only in 1931 the two services were merged, thus creating DCT – Department of mail and telegraph.

On March 20, 1969, the old DCT was transformed into Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos - ECT.

Postmen today

To serve a continental size country, as Brazil, and deliver 8.3 billion objects every year, ECT counts on over 56 thousand postmen, which represents more than half of the company staff.

From this total, around 10% are women.

Together, postmen in Brazil cover 397 thousand km daily, which is equal to 10 complete turns around the globe.

Before leaving to streets to deliver correspondences, postmen perform part of their job in Home Distribution Centers (place where postal cargo is separated by streets and numbering) and Correio Agencies with home distribution (small agencies).

In addition to the mission of delivering correspondences, many times the postman is a community leader, turned to his/her community well-being. This leadership is easily acknowledged and credited to the personal prestige of the professional before the company and his/her family.

Postmen are also responsible for the diffusion of important campaigns for population awareness and citizenship promotion, like campaigns to fight against break bone fever, to promote breast feeding, blood and bone marrow donation.    

They also participate in actions to improve their work conditions, as in the conscientization campaign for correct installation of mail boxes far from dogs, in order to ensure both postmen and postal objects integrity.

One example of social nature action involving postmen and which is very popular is Correios Santa Klaus. Since 1997, when it came to be a corporate project, it is developed in all 28 Regional Directions.

In 2009, two states have tested a new model for the project, in which only children who have studied until the first year of basic learning first phase (that is, until 4th or 5th year) of public schools (municipal. State or federal), besides day care centers and asylums could participate. The intention is to stimulate attendance to school.

UN Millennium Development Goals – Quality Basic Education for all. In 2009, Correios have received 1,981,000 letters, 21% of which were adopted.  The project has counted on the support and participation of 3,818 internal volunteers, 669 external volunteers and 462 partnerships.  

Gifts are delivered by postmen or other Correios employees in poor regions of large urban centers.

As example of this professional confidence, the postman – the company most visible face - largely contributes to the high conception of post office institution by the population. Researches carried out at each two years confirm that: general results obtained surpass 90% of confidence in Correios.

The postman profession is also the second most reliable professional in the country and the fourth most reliable worldwide. That’s what a research made in Brazil, United States and Europe, divulged in 2009 by Rede Globo Jornal Hoje, has revealed. According to this research, in Brazil postmen have 90% of population confidence, behind firemen, physicians and teachers.  

Worldwide, postmen have 81% of interviewed confidence, along with physicians and behind firemen and teachers.

There is a lot of talk about postman as professional, messenger of good and bad news.  

However, the one who faithfully fulfills his mission, becoming the main link among people, whatever the distance, is, above all, an admirable human being.

A Brazilian who, like all others, has soul and heart. Soul to understand his fellow creature spirit and to be friendly at the moment of bad news delivery. Heart to realize the light in the eyes of those who receive news from a dear friend or relative.  

The postman is the post office most representative symbol of identity in society. It is the company image which, along with millions of correspondences, arrives daily at different Brazilian homes.  

The postman, this handsome person who is easily adopted, involuntarily, by the family. Who has not heard the expression “my postman” or “the postman of my house”? This is how we treat our postman.

Our everyday friend. The one who, with rain or sun, will always pass by our door leaving a message from someone who remembered us.   

For the postmen to perform their job with safety and quality, Correios have teams to constantly research work conditions improvement.

As a result, for several years ECT provides postmen training and special equipment like bag, shoes, cap, sun glasses, sun protector and uniform adapted to each region climate conditions.

In 2010, postmen have replaced the old bags by a new model, which warrants more comfort in correspondences delivery. It is the first ergonomic postman bag, a result of careful technical study by the company in partnership with São Carlos Federal University (SP).   

The postmen themselves have participated in the process, assessing this work fitting and commenting on the efficiency of the several prototypes produced.