Postal workers lay down tools as strikes spread

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PostOffice Independent Newspapers Picture: Itumeleng English.

A postal strike which started in Gauteng earlier this week has spread to Cape Town, with EFF members in red berets joining a protest outside Capemail’s offices in Epping yesterday.

Nationally, around 6 000 casual employees had downed tools by yesterday, according to Post Office estimates.

The country’s “super-hubs” of mail sorting, Witspos (Joburg) and Tshwane, are worst affected.

But, yesterday there were reports of workers being intimidated at Bonteheuwel post office and the Gugulethu office was closed, said Post Office spokeswoman Martie Gilchrist.

The strikers work primarily in mail sorting centres.

They are non-unionised, but have formed regional task teams to represent their interests and to articulate demands.

Soraya Abdullah, who has worked as a processor at the Epping offices for six years, said many casual workers felt hard done by the Post Office’s refusal to give them the security of permanent positions.

Abdullah also claimed their temporary contracts had expired in December and were not renewed.

“Some so-called ‘casual’ workers have been here for 10 years or more. They have dedicated a lot of time and effort to their jobs, but they get no recognition. Without new contracts, we are not even sure what our current status is. It feels as though we can be fired at any moment,” she said.

Mass dismissals may well be on the cards, with Post Office management noting that the strike was unprotected and issuing a “final ultimatum” for strikers to return to work yesterday.

Meanwhile postal services have been disrupted nationally.

Earlier this week Tshwane municipality announced that the delivery of municipal accounts would be delayed.

But in Cape Town mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson said the strike had not yet affected the distribution of accounts.

“Any residents who do not receive their accounts at the usual time should please notify the city via its call centre on 0860 103 089 or by visiting one of the municipal cash offices.“ - Cape Argus

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