Post office workers in city protest
Employees in show of solidarity over national demands for 12% wage hike
The national strike action affecting post office services throughout the country filtered to East London, as some workers from the South African Post Office (Sapo) downed tools.
More than 30 employees were seen protesting outside the East London city centre offices on Friday, demanding a 12% salary increase while Sapo is offering 6.5%.
Post office services did not appear to be affected, however, as there were no long queues and all tills appeared to be staffed.
Gender coordinator at the Communications Workers Union (CWU), Thobeka Sebenzi, said they were dissatisfied with Sapo’s offer.
“It’s been three years without getting any salary increase while everything in the country is going up. Petrol is up, VAT is up and that is what has angered us to join this strike.”
Sebenzi said the 6.5% offer had had a negative impact on employees.
“We want the housing subsidy to increase as well. This will affect services because we cannot serve our clients effectively if our demands and needs are not met.”
While protesters sang and chanted outside, other employees inside continued to serve customers.
Sebenzi said the Southernwood and Beacon Bay post offices had been without electricity for a month.
“Our colleagues there are working in the dark because the employer has not paid the rates for the past six months,” she said.
The Daily Dispatch visited the Southernwood office yesterday and workers were seen working in candlelight.
According to Sapo spokesman Johan Kruger, the branch’s electricity had been cut as a result of disputes over the electricity bill.
“This has been resolved and the payment is on a priority list for settlement when cash flow allows,” he said.
He added: “We are optimistic that the strike will be resolved very soon.
“Note that this does not prevent Sassa beneficiaries from using their grants,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sapo is set to re-open nine branches which had been closed over the past few years due to inactivity.
This was revealed by Mbulelo Mhlana, who was acting as regional head earlier this week.