Ominous cellular phone messages in which striking post office workers are being reminded of Marikana and are being told to arm themselves with ‘pangas and all kinds of weapons’ is currently hanging like cloud over the SA Post Office (Sapo) strike and negotiations, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on communications says.
He says the FF Plus is also in possession of a document in which Sapo acknowledges that it is in a dire financial position which limits settlement options. To aggravate the situation, there is currently a power struggle amongst trade unions which has led to settlement targets continuously being changed.
The trade unions are demanding that all non-permanent staff is appointed to full time workers immediately as well as all workers receiving a 15% increase.
According to information that the FF Plus has in its possession, Sapo has proposed an 8% increase with a personnel reduction of 20%. This was not accepted and at some point a settlement on an increase of 6% and a phasing in of non-permanent workers over a period of 4 years was nearly agreed to.
This proposal was however rejected by the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The CWU is still insisting on a 15% increase and the immediate permanent employment of all workers.
In a letter of Sapo to the CWU in which, amongst others, it was stated that: Sapo’s management is making these proposals with due consideration of the critical financial position about which it had played open cards with the trade union leadership.
It also appears that Sapo is considering paying an incentive bonus of R1000 and R1 500 for striking personnel to calm emotions in an attempt to allow the negotiations to proceed. The possibility of these amounts being paid for a period of three months are being mentioned.
The FF Plus has heard that there is great dissatisfaction amongst permanent employees about this. As non-permanent workers were employed on a no work- no pay basis, this would set a precedent and it is being viewed as a payment to strike, Adv. Alberts says.
The FF plus once again calls on government to intervene decisively in this strike and to mediate with the parties. Even if it would mean to infringe on the position of trade unions,” Adv. Alberts says.
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