“The SA Postal and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu) and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union (Depacu), which collectively represent 50% of the employees in the bargaining unit, have agreed to an increase of 6.5% for the bargaining unit, effective 1 December 2014,” Dr Simo Lushaba, leader of the negotiating team, said in a statement.
The conversion of part-time and casual employees into full-time employment is part of the deal and will come into effect on December 1, with full-time benefits only kicking in on April 1 2014. It will take two years for the full conversion to be completed.
Lushaba said that the CWU, which represents 39% of the employees in the bargaining unit, is still insisting on a 7.5% hike implemented with immediate effect, backdated to April 2014. This is despite the "concerted and single-minded efforts by all relevant stakeholders", including Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele.
The CWU has rejected the Post Office's assertions that it cannot afford its demands, and that its ability to meet even the agreed hikes hinges on restoration of stable operations and a recovery and turnaround.
“We believe that it will be irresponsible for the leadership of the organisation to accede to demands (made by the CWU) owing to our current financial position. Given our current cash flow scenario, it is absolutely impossible to agree on any guarantees, hence the conditions around our agreement with the other unions,” said Lushaba.
He added that most Sapo employees have already returned to work, although as of Thursday 673 workers - representing 4% of the employees who belong to the bargaining unit - have not yet reported for duty.
All systems go for most of Gauteng
Gauteng's major mail sorting centres Witspos and Tshwane Mail, which have been hardest hit by the strike, are now 100% staffed and operational. Polokwane and Welkom's mail sorting centres have also resumed operations.
Germiston and OR Tambo International however are not yet back to full capacity, although mail has begun to trickle through from these sorting centres.