Post Office tries to put brakes on strike

2014-09-19 20:52

The South African Post Office (Sapo) is “engaging in fruitful discussions with leaders from three worker unions in a bid to bring the industrial action by employees to a swift end”.

Post office employees embarked on an unprotected strike last week over management dragging its heels to convert casual workers into permanent staff.

This is the implementation of Sapo’s flexible labour strategy which was approved in 2013 to convert 7945 casual workers into permanent employees.

According to Sapo, the strategy adopted was a phased approach where casual workers were offered permanent but part-time positions as an alternative to being contracted to the company through labour brokers.

“The aim of the flexible labour strategy has always been to advance the part-time employees to more permanent positions with full benefits. However, a staggered approach had to be adopted given the difficult financial position the company is in,” said Sapo Group Chief Operating Officer Mlu Mathonsi.

“Disputes with unions are around agreements made at the time that casual workers would be employed in entry level positions with limited benefits.

Advancement to full-time positions with full benefits would only be made available if and when Sapo was in a financial position to do so.

This was the only way Sapo could permanently employ the large number of casual workers,” added Mathonsi.

He said since the process started in 2013, more than 2000 casual employees have been given permanent contracts; and that recently Sapo had concluded 600 more permanent contracts while 900 additional workers have also been issued with permanent contracts.

“Our aim is to have all 4928 casual workers contracted as permanent part-time employees by 1 December 2014,” he said.

Communication Workers Union (CWU) Matankana spokesperson Mothapo said employees were angered by the order of the conversion.

He said Sapo was starting with casual employees who were brought in last.

“Why would they employ only recent casual employees and not the ones from long ago? There are employees who have been there for ten to fifteen years who are casual workers,” said Mothapo.

Sapo employees have been involved in various unprotected strikes since January, which has caused interruptions in the post office’s sorting and distribution processes resulting in delays in postal and parcel deliveries to consumers.

Sapo has estimated that mail in the Western Cape is delayed by roughly four working days, while mail in Gauteng is delayed by several weeks.

Sapo said it has put contingency plans in place to mitigate service disruptions and will keep customers updated on any new developments that may affect them.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.