The Tshwane Mail Centre in Kgosi Mampuru Street.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The shutdown of the Tshwane Mail Centre has resulted in major consequences for mail delivery in and beyond the city.

Among the systems which have ground to a halt is IT, which has led to mail not being sorted and transported to recipients on time.

Kodisang Bokaba, speaking on behalf of unions and workers outside the sorting head office as employees continued their picket for wage increases, said the whole service had started to unravel.

“From the Mail Centre here, the mail is not being transported to various places such as provinces north, west and east of Tshwane.

“The longer the strike continues, the more dire the consequences. We know the effect of lengthy strikes,” he said, citing the strikes of 2011/12 which cost the SA Post Office (Sapo) clients, reputation and revenue.

Tshwane Mail Centre workers joined thousands of workers at Sapo and Telkom last week, when they downed tools on July 6 to demand better pay.

Communication Workers Union general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said the strike by the CWU and other unions had caused a national shutdown at the Post Office.

Tshabalala said while the strike continued, unions were meeting employers in Joburg to find a solution to the impasse.

The strike left hundreds of social grant beneficiaries stranded and saw extraordinary queues at SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) offices.

This comes after the announcement that Sassa and Sapo were ready to roll out social grants from the Post Office.

The Tshwane centre is the third largest mail sorting centre in the southern hemisphere after Witspos in Joburg and Cape Mail in Cape Town. It serves as the distribution centre for the Tshwane region, as well as the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

For some, the strike delayed delivery of valuable items, and those affected took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

@BoitsK said: “This post office strike, my textbooks are stuck there and I have to study and write assignments!”

@DLeerah could not use the postal services to apply for jobs. “How are we supposed to apply for @GovernmentZA department positions via mail when post office is closed. At times hand delivery is not possible!! Can closing dates be postponed until post office strike action ends, please!!”

“Of course the Post Office goes on strike the week my documents are sent,” tweeted @mccall_crissy.

Bokaba said: “As joint trade unions, on Friday we took a mandate from our members as the employer had put out a 6% increase offer, and they said no.” He said they had consulted and gone back to the negotiating table. He described the negotiations as peaceful.

Workers want a 12% increase, but the Post Office insists it can only afford 6% across the board. Telkom is offering 3%. Also at issue are housing allowances, pension and medical aid, and loan deals.

Pretoria News