Post office wage talks deadlocked

Wage negotiations between the South African Post Office (Sapo) and unions remain deadlocked as strike action across the country continues.

Thousands of workers affiliated with the Communication Workers Union, the South African Customs Union and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union (Depacu) downed tools on Friday to demand higher wages.

The unions and representatives from the state-owned entity met on Monday to resolve the wage dispute in talks that were facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Prior to the talks, Sapo had offered a 6% wage increase while the unions demanded 12%. According to the unions, workers have not received a wage increase since 2017.

Sapo chief executive Mark Barnes told Cape Talk on Monday that the entity could not afford the 12% wage hike.

READ MORE: Post Office strike halts payment to grant beneficiaries

“We didn’t pull 6% out of a hat. We started at zero and a whole mixture of benefits and that was an all in offer that we tabled and I am hopeful that we will make progress,” Barnes said.

“We all know what the economics are and that where the truth begins and ends when we are negotiating. It is not like we are holding pots of money in reserves.”

Depacu general secretary Levy Zwane told the Mail & Guardian Sapo stuck to their original offer during the negotiations while the unions lowered the wage demand to a 10% increase.

Zwane said that though Depacu had a number of demands, the union had streamlined their proposal to attend to two critical demands: the wage increase and that permanent part-timers, who work four and a half hours a day, be made fully permanent and have their hours raised to eight hours a day.

Though no agreement has been reached, Zwane said he is confident the wage dispute will be resolved.

On whether Depacu was concerned the strike had left hundreds of social grant beneficiaries stranded, Zwane said this was one of the reasons the union was willing to compromise on some of its demands.

Sapo took over the contract from Cash Paymaster Services to distribute social grants, excluding cash grants, on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in April.

“The sooner the strike ends the better, because we can see how it is affecting our people in the community,” Zwane said.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Bathabile Dlamini reinstated in ANC Women’s League task team

The women in the NEC are said to have fought tooth and nail to have Dlamini brought back after she was pulled out by officials. 

Just transition could secure access to cleaner energy sources in...

A researcher says Africa’s huge renewable energy potential could save lives from air pollution

Former Zim pro boxer and jailbird aims to make children...

Zvenyika Arifonso is proof that a billionaire philanthropist is not always needed to give back to the community

The Melilla massacre: Silence begets injustice

In contrast to developments elsewhere in the world, Melilla has not been mentioned by the South African commentariat, political formations and civil society.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×