SA Post Office employees throughout the country are on strike demanding higher wages. Seen here are workers from a Western Cape branch. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla
South African Post Office workers have called on the minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, to urgently intervene in deadlocked wage negotiations with post office management.

On Saturday, general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) Aubrey Tshabalala said it had reached deadlock on Friday after union members rejected an offer of a 6.5% pay increase.

The unions also want the post office to identify staff, among its workforce, who will be dedicated to assist social grant recipients with their payments.

Tshabalala said it was necessary to identify those workers, after the post office experienced technical glitches to pay grants to recipients.

“We call on the post office to resolve the matter. In our endeavour not to affect payments, the union chose not to go on a strike action on June 27 and July 2 to allow for smooth payment of social grants to recipients,” Tshabalala said.

He, however, said if the post office continues to drag its feet on negotiations, that was likely to affect payments of social grants.

On Thursday, however, Minister Cwele and Post Office chief executive Mark Barnes were confident that the wage dispute would be resolved between the parties. 

Tshabalala said wage negotiations began on Thursday in which management initially offered a 6% increase from August 1. He said it also offered to increase working hours of part-time workers from 21 hours per week to 25 hours.

The union, according to Tshabalala, had demanded that those workers should be made permanent saying most of them had been in their jobs for more than three months.

“We could not reach an agreement and postponed the meeting until Friday. Yesterday, the post office management arrived at the negotiations and made a new offer of a 6.5% increase, backdated to April this year.

“We rejected the new offer. The view of the workers was that they had initially demanded a 12% increase which was later reduced to 8% following protracted negotiations,” Tshabalala said.

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