Cape Town - Privately-owned delivery companies say they are seeing an increase in business as the postal strike continues.
The strike, now in its fourth month, has led to post offices in the province closing intermittently.
About 7 900 casual postal workers across the country have been engaged in a tussle with management over their demands to be given permanent employment.
Local and international courier services company 3AT1 said it had a “considerable increase in document and parcel delivery via courier since the start of the Post Office strike”, and more so in international courier sales.
“We have seen an increase whereby consumers use our scan and e-mail service instead of posting or faxing their documents, invoices, etc,” spokeswomen Belinda Dunn said.
“We are doing our very best to facilitate individual and business clients in getting their documents and packages to where they need to go on time.”
Brendan McDonald, of Citi-sprint, a delivery service, said the company had experienced an increase in business since the postal strike began.
He said that clients preferred paying for delivery services, as postal services had become unreliable and Citi-sprint guaranteed delivery.
“The value of our work has increased,” he said.
A negotiated end to the strike had been expected, but the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said strikers had been given dismissal letters instead.
CWU spokesman Matankana Mothapo said the union’s members and postal management were due to have a meeting yesterday to address this.
They would have a report back on the strike in Johannesburg today.
“It is true that staff have received dismissal letters. We will engage the Post Office today (Thursday) on this,” Mothapo said.
“We are not sure of the numbers (of workers) that received those letters.
“We are still going to come to an agreement, but we can’t agree when some of our workers are dismissed.”
Post Office spokeswomen Martie Gilchrist said ongoing talks with the union were taking a “positive posture”, resulting in improved mail operations in Gauteng, the only province still severely impacted by the strike.
“No incidents of intimidation were reported during the past 24 hours, and Witspos and Tshwane Mail, the major sorting centres in Gauteng, are operational,” she said.
She said with the festive season around the corner, almost all December mail would be posted before December 16, leading to a sharp spike in mail volumes early next month.
“During the festive season, crewing of sorting centres is done depending on the volume of expected mail. This means that each shift is able (to) clear the mail that has come into the sorting centre. Additional transport is also arranged where necessary,” Gilchrist said.
“The SA Post Office remains firmly committed to finding an amicable and sustainable solution for its labour relations situation and to this end will continue to engage all its recognised unions.” - Cape Town