No end in sight for post office strike

Adv Anton Alberts

With the paralysing post office strike now entering its fifth week, there is still no end in sight and according to a letter of one of the trade unions involved in the strike, it appears as if the critical point where post office work could come to a halt has already been reached, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on communications, says.

In the letter of the South African Postal Allied Workers Union (SAPAWU), dated 10 October 2014, it is stated that the SA Post Office (Sapo) has not put anything on the table in attempt to reach a settlement.

SAPAWU says, amongst others, that apart from the salary increases and the permanent employment of non-permanent workers, there are various other demands which has to be solved successfully before the trade union is prepared to settle.

Ironically, SAPAWU acknowledges that the post office did not have the money to pay its workers last month (25 September) on time and that the company could close due to a shortage of equity and the strike, but it is still not prepared to settle for an increase of 8%.

The document reads that: “We are concerned that the impact of the strike could force the company to close its doors, if we haven’t already reached that point …”.

Also: “Should we not succeed to find a solution, 25 September will in a sinister manner remind us that it isn’t accidental that we were not paid on time, it was because the company did not have money to pay us”.

The letter also mentions that the issue has been sent to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration where the salary dispute will be heard on 23 October.

Adv. Anton Alberts says it is a pity that the ANC government has allowed the situation to reach this crisis point where even the striking workers and trade unions have become concerned about their future and the future of their workers.

“If this letter is accurate, it appears as if the government isn’t really serious about ending the strike. The impact of this on the whole of the society is enormous, but will only be properly seen from now onwards when the consequences of the broken communication system starts making its mark in practice.

“Nearly every large business still has a need in certain instances to communicate in tangible documents. Legal practitioners, estate agents, students, to name but a few. The snowball effect will grow visibly daily and the FF Plus once again calls on government to intervene immediately,” Adv. Alberts says.


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