SA Post Office board call it quits

*File Image: The lobby box left at the Pieter Uys post office which is to be moved.

According to media reports, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele, made the announcement on Friday, November 7, during a media briefing held at the Sapo headquarters in Centurion, Pretoria.

The state entity is now temporarily under new administration.

The minister also addressed the media about measures the government intends to take in resolving the post office strike, which has dragged on for more than three months now.

The striking casual workers are demanding permanent contracts with benefits better pay and better working conditions.

Communications Workers Union (CWU) has been calling on Telecommunications and Postal Services minister Siyabonga Cwele, to fire the entire Sapo board for its incompetence.

“All the board members must go because they have failed to take the right steps to address the labour dispute, which has been dragging on for more than three years now,” said general secretary of Communications Workers Union (CWU), Aubrey Tshabalala.

Negotiations to resolve the problems has been carrying on intermittently for at least three years, however, it appear as if the top management is having difficulties resolving these labour disputes.

According to DA shadow deputy minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Cameron MacKenzie MP, the root of the unrest is that Sapo management has failed to honour its undertaking given to workers more than eight months ago, that it would employ casual workers as permanent part-time workers.

The implementation of the flexible labour strategy meant casual workers would qualify for benefits including vacation and maternity leave, medical aid, pension and a housing allowance.

MacKenzie said a recent reply to a parliamentary question revealed that as at August 1, 2014, a total of 7 556 casual workers were employed – down from 7 911 in February 2013.

This means that in 21 months, only 355 workers have been permanently employed, equating to just 17 people a month.

“The absence of any reliable commitments from Sapo on steps taken to end the current strike is a sad indictment on this organisation.

The DA also called on Cwele to immediately bring an end to the strike and mitigate any further damage by:

– Enforcing the eight-month-old agreement to convert casual workers to permanent part-time employees as a priority.

– Fast tracking the conversion process and communicating timelines to affected workers; and, ensuring an urgent return to work by employees to clear the accumulated nine-week mail backlog.

President Jacob Zuma has recently signed a Proclamation directing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate, among others, the allegations of serious maladministration and corruption in connection with the affairs of the Sapo and unlawful conduct by the officials of Sapo.

“CWU welcomes this move as we have for some time been raising this maladministration and corruption by Sapo,” said Tshabalala.

Due to the labour dispute between SA Post Office (Sapo) and its employees, piles of unsorted letters and parcels continue to pile up and gathering dust in several SA Post Office depots.

The Advertiser continues to receive complaint from Post Office clients, who are caught in the middle of the fight between the two parties, with some claiming that they have not received their mail since May this year.

Meanwhile, the Greater Boksburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the ongoing Post Office strike is having a serious impact on business operations across the city, and needs to be resolved urgently.

Fanie Mathupha

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