Solidarity announces 'settlement' in Post Office medical aid crisis

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MEDiPOS said because the Post Office failed to pay over the full contributions, they relied on reserves to pay claims.
MEDiPOS said because the Post Office failed to pay over the full contributions, they relied on reserves to pay claims.
Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi
  • Solidarity said SA Post Office employees will continue to receive their medical aid scheme benefits in October.
  • This follows a settlement in the Labour Court on Tuesday.
  • MEDiPOS will sustain the employees' medical cover as long as the Council for Medical Schemes approves the settlement agreement. 

Trade union Solidarity said on Tuesday evening that it had reached a "settlement" with the SA Post Office (SAPO) and MEDiPOS in its ongoing medical aid contributions storm and that this settlement had been ratified as a court order by the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

This comes after Solidarity brought an urgent application in the Labour Court against SAPO. Solidarity sought an order compelling SAPO to pay medical aid contributions that are in arrears to the tune of more than R600 million to MEDiPOS. 

MEDiPOS said because SAPO failed to pay over the full contributions, they relied on reserves to pay claims. The medical aid warned in recent weeks that if the contributions of members were not paid, SAPO employees ran the risk of losing their medical aid benefits altogether.

Solidarity said in a statement released on Tuesday that it would not have been possible for SAPO employees to receive any further benefits from MEDiPOS from October.

"For months SAPO failed to pay the full member contributions to the fund on behalf its employees while the deductions still appeared on the employees' payslips. The urgent application was scheduled to be heard [on Tuesday]," the statement said. 

Solidarity said in exchange for the minimum payments, MEDiPOS would sustain the employees' medical cover provided that the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) approves the settlement agreement. 

"The agreement further stipulates that if the CMS does not grant its permission for the implementation of the agreement, the court application would again be placed on the Labour Court roll [to be heard] at the end of November," said the statement.

Solidarity's head of legal matters Anton van der Bijl said it was outrageous that Solidarity had to revert to court action to force the Post Office to meet its obligations.

"Innocent employees suffer as a result of the mismanagement and corruption that are so typical of state entities and government departments, while management team members and cadres get away scot-free," said Van der Bijl.

Van der Bijl said the union would not hesitate to pursue further litigation if SAPO again failed to meet its obligations towards employees contributing to the medical aid scheme.

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