South Africans are being severely affected by the postal worker’s strike, with some patients complaining of not receiving chronic medication, companies not receiving important reports, and UNISA students struggling to post their assignments. According to the South African Post Office (SAPO) public relations officer Lungelo Lose, talks to solve the strike are currently at a sensitive stag. Workers have been on strike for approximately a month now, and there is no end in sight.
“It’s not one strike itself as there are a number of different groupings including one trade union or some of the trade unions that are on strike. It’s a multi issue strike, and that is why it is taking so long to get to a solution,” said Lose.
At the core of these issues is the integration of workers that used to be under the labour broking system.
“The main issue here is the speed that they are integrated as well as how they are integrated into the organization. They are demanding to be integrated with full benefits, which is not an affordable situation for the organization,” said Lose.
The bulk of the mail within the Western Cape should not be affected by the strike. Lose said international mail may not be posted, as the international mail centre has now also been affected by the strike due to the mail centres in Johannesburg being un-operational.
“Mail and parcels in the Western Cape should be arriving without any problems. We urge both the public and the workers to exercise patience as we try to resolve the matter with urgency, he said, adding that customers who have queries can call the post office for information.
In a statement on Friday, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minster Siyabonga Cwele said they have been engaging in serious decisions with all stakeholders of the SA Post Office. He said all the stakeholders have noted the negative impact of the on-going strike action, the financial state of the post office and the violence and intimidation it has caused thus far.
He said SAPO management and the unions are currently jointly engaging workers to appeal to them to get back to work and explain all the processes that are being undertaken to address all the issues the workers have raised.
“We are encouraged by the progress made thus far. We are committed to serving South Africans. We assure all South Africans that we will continue to engage all stakeholders and work tirelessly to bring an end to the industrial action in order to restore the service delivery,” said Minister Cwele.
VOC has been unsuccessful in contacting a spokesperson for the Communication Workers Union. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)