Piles of mail destined for and from the city lay unattended for yet another day on Thursday, as Tshwane Mail Centre workers continued with strike action. This has prompted the municipality to warn ratepayers to pay their usual monthly bills despite the delays, and the SA Post Office to intensify investigations into the “illegal” industrial action.
Production at the post office has been characterised by stayaways for the past year as employers and employees have haggled over a wide range of issues – from finances and working hours to demands for dividends from profits.
This has resulted in delays in the delivery of mail, and post office branches across the city have closed for days at a time.
The recurring problems often raised the ire of residents as mail from the centre got stuck between post boxes, and residents complained that important mail did not reach its intended destinations.
At about midday on Thursday, just more than 100 workers met across the road from the Tshwane Mail Centre for an intended march on the offices. They agreed to call off the march after being told that their representatives had been called to a meeting in Joburg.
One worker told the Pretoria News during their meeting: “We are being told about a high court order forbidding the march and our leaders say we must wait for feedback from the meeting before taking any more action.”
Another worker, who also did not want to give his name, said they would not go back to work until their grievances had been addressed: “Unfortunately the people will suffer, but we are not going back yet.”
This is the second week of the strike action.
On Thursday, the city council asked that ratepayers pay their usual monthly amounts despite the anticipated delay in the delivery of their account statements.
The city’s marketing department said: “Residents can also request their latest account at their nearest customer care centre.”
Affected suburbs, the city said, included Nellmapius, Mahube Valley, squatter camps, Mamelodi West, Mamelodi East, Wespark, Kwaggasrand, Lotus Gardens, Atteridgeville, Atteridgeville X 17, Necsa, Broederstroom, Arcadia, Loftus, Brooklyn, Hatfield, Menlo Park, Ashley Gardens, Waterkloof, Erasmusrand, Philip Nel Park, Asiatic Bazaar, Pretoria Zoo, Pretoria central business district, Tshwane Showgrounds, Pretoria West, Westview, Elands-poort, Danville, Proclamation Hill, Pretoria Industrial, Salvokop, Groenkloof and Equestria.
The post office confirmed that the processing of mail was being delayed. “The work stoppage remains illegal and could potentially compromise service delivery,” it said, adding that it wanted to resolve the matter swiftly.
The no work, no pay principle applied in this situation, it said.