Union ends brief Post Office strike

Johannesburg - The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has agreed to suspend its two-day strike action against the South African Post Office (Sapo).

CWU launched a nationwide strike on Thursday to demand higher annual pay increases for workers and the conversion of casual Sapo workers to permanent employees.

But the strike has now come an abrupt end after Sapo said that less than 1% of its approximately 22 000 employees were involved in this latest industrial action.

In a joint statement from Sapo and the CWU on Friday, the two parties said they “have agreed on a process to resolve the outstanding labour issues”.

Sapo chief executive officer Mark Barnes told Fin24 on Friday that after hours of consultation, CWU has agreed to suspend its industrial action for a month.

The suspended strike action comes as the Post Office - which recorded a R1.5bn loss for 2015 - awaits key capital injections from banks to help with its turnaround.

“It’s great news and to be honest it’s a victory for common sense. It’s a victory for all of the people of the Post Office,” Barnes told Fin24 by phone.

“I think it’s evidence of a change of approach and a change of the relationship between management and labour or business and labour at large.

“It’s a move away from conflict economic resolution to sitting around a table and finding an answer,” Barnes said.

Last week, Barnes told Fin24 that Sapo first “needs funding to address the concerns of its employees”.

Barnes further told Fin24 last week that Sapo has so far raised R1.8bn from the likes of banks, while government earlier this year gave the company a R650m cash injection.

Sapo is also about six weeks away from receiving another key captial injection, Barnes told Fin24 last week. Sapo has set a target of raising R2.7bn in capital.

CWU president Clyde Mervin could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

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