Failure by the South African Post Office (Sapo) to back pay R7.6-million to employees has led to the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) embarking on a two-day strike.
Sapo conceded its financial situation would not allow it to pay fund salary increases. Sapo group chief executive Mark Barnes said:
“Sapo received funding injection in 2016 and that was largely used to settle long outstanding creditors as well as unresolved wage commitments to the employees, thus contributing to the stability in our labour relations.”
He said Sapo had steadily progressed but revenue had not increased as anticipated. CWU provincial chairman Bonke Mfenqe said the post office was supposed to employ fulltime temporary workers by April 1, increase salaries and that it owed employees R7.6-million in backpay after it was discovered salaries of the post office employees were not the same.
He said the post office instead told the union it did not have money.
“We are withholding our services today and tomorrow and we will picket on Thursday at the post offices. This is a national strike and it is legal,” he said.
The union’s general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said the political leadership in the country had no will to see state-owned enterprises succeed and that put thousands of jobs at risk.
“These politicians are comfortable to spend R20-billion per annum in the private sector on postal and courier services but not willing to channel these funds to the post office. There are growing tendencies of underming the bargaining processes by undermining the negotiations with trade unions in order to camouflage the financial crisis,” Tshabalala said.