Another post office dispute looms

Thousands of postal and railway workers may again go out on strike, unless the two parastatals stop violating the terms of the agreements that brought an end to strikes in the two sectors.

The Department of Posts and Telecommunications – which has been accused of openly flouting the agreement ending the strike on September 7 – has until today to "adhere to the agreement" or face court action according to the Post and Telecommunications Workers Union (Potwa).

The union has compiled a 14-page dossier listing a range of examples to support its accusations.

  • Contrary to the agreement, semi- and unskilled workers are being targeted for dismissal. To date over 3 000 workers have been dismissed and have been refused the opportunity to apply for re-employment
  • Technicians and other skilled workers are being allowed to resume work without having to apply for re-employment.
  • Of the 1 500 workers who went out on strike in the Eastern Cape only 200 have been re-engaged
  • ln Bryanston gates were locked when workers reported for duty. Only selected workers were allowed into the depot.
  • Only at the Crown Mines depot in Johannesburg assembled at the gates. A contingent of police arrived and the chairman of the workers committee was arrested
  • Almost all shop stewards have been transferred to other depots against their will and in violation of the agreement.

According to Potwa the trend is the same in all the depots that went out on strike. When Potwa and the Post Office reached agreement ending a two-month-old strike by about 16 000 workers certain agreements were reached between the two parties.

Post Office representative Ben Roodt this week denied his department was violating the agreement. "We are keeping strictly to the agreement" he said. Potwa's ultimatum comes shortly after similar accusations were leveled at the South African Transport Services by the SA Railway and Harhours Workers Union. Sarhwu claims several of its members have beentransferred to other depots while thousands have been re fused re-employment. Sats has denied the allegations.  

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.


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Sefako Nyaka
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