The Communications Workers Union (CWU) is expected to respond to the South African Post Office’s (SAPO’s) proposal to end the strike by the end of business today, as the strike enters its tenth week. However it does not look hopeful, as the CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said on Thursday that the proposed offer had already been rejected by members in five provinces.
SAPO is offering workers a once-off payment of R1,500 to return to work and a 6% wage hike. The Post Office has also undertaken to convert 1,300 temporary workers to permanent staff annually over the next three to four years.
Tshabalala stated, “We have taken the proposal to our members across the country and five provinces have rejected it. We will know by (Monday) whether the rest of the provinces are rejecting it too or are accepting it.”
Tshabalala is skeptical though, as he continues, “Bear in mind that CWU has been entering into similar agreements with the post office for a number of years, but nothing came out of that, hence we have called for the board to resign.”
The union is demanding that thousands of temporary staff be taken on on a permanent basis and a 15% payrise, while also insisting that the board resigns, citing maladministration and corruption as reasons.
This strike is not helping the financially embattled parastatal that has, to date, not held its AGM or submitted its report to parliament, six months after its financial year-end.
The Times Live is reporting that auditors Deloitte & Touche and Nkonki, said: "Without qualifying our opinion, we draw attention to the fact that the government subsidy has been withdrawn and additional costs to fund the Postbank corporatisation will further add pressure on the performance of the South African Post Office."
It said that difficult conditions "may cast significant doubt on the entity's ability to continue as a going concern in future".
This is in conflict with the directors' report in the same draft annual, which stated that the directors "believe that the company has adequate financial resources" to continue for the forseeable future, and the annual financial statements "have been prepared on a going- concern basis."
SAPO have sent out a mailer to its commercial clients saying: “We are making slow but steady progress with negotiations with the labour unions. Negotiations are at a particularly sensitive stage right now, and we are optimistic that a breakthrough is possible within days.”
- Greater Johannesburg: most of the mail centers are operational, but not at full capacity.
- Tshwane: Not operating at any significant level.
- Polokwane: Started experiencing issues on Friday, 26 September, affecting deliveries across Limpopo. SAPO is bypassing the Polokwane mail center to deliver to smaller towns in the area.
- Bloemfontein: City is experiencing problems, but SAPO is bypassing the Bloemfontein mail center to deliver to smaller towns in the area.
- All other cities and provinces: Only affected by mail coming from or going to the affected areas.
By Jenni McCann