SA Post Office confident of minimal service interruptions during industrial action

MARCH 5, 2015

The SA Post Office says it has put in place contingency measures in order to ensure that operations proceed unhindered following a 48-hour notice by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to embark on an industrial action today, 05 March 2016. 

The SA Post Office acting Group CEO, Mr Mlu Mathonsi, explained: “We anticipate that the industrial action will have minimal interruptions, if any, on our services given that this action involves only CWU members. Additionally, their notice specifies only work-to-rule privileges for two weeks.”

“This means,” he explained, “that the employees taking part in the industrial action will still be working according to minimum work requirements, save for any additional work schedules. We have devised measures to ensure minimal services obstructions during the industrial action as we carry on with our increased attentiveness of the impact of services interruptions on our business and customers.”

Mathonsi said that they remain committed to discussions with all labour unions in their attempt to achieve a stable working environment for the company. “It is in the interest of all the affected parties, and particularly the sustainability of the SA Post Office, that frank discussions continue on all areas of concern. A strike at this point, in all conscience, is not a desirable outcome for the SA Post Office.”

In their bridge-building engagements, the SA Post Office Administrator and Group CEO had a positive consultative engagement session with the presidents of the South African Postal and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu) and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union (Depacu) on 23 February. Unfortunately the CWU declined the invitation and did not attend. Whilst they have scheduled another consultation with the top leadership of the unions on 12 March, they have invited the CWU to a bilateral meeting tomorrow, 06 March.

Mathonsi added that creating a workplace environment which is conducive for the smooth-running of our operations cannot be overemphasised. As a consequence and as part of various transcendent initiatives by the Administrator to stabilise the operations, they have held a number of meetings with the unions to try and resolve the issues at hand.

“For instance, the CCMA is currently facilitating a process of relationship-building between the company and its recognised unions. The introduction of the CCMA process, a recent development, is considered a unique step by the SA Post Office in its effort to create a sustainable future centred on commendable customer experience. This is envisaged to culminate in the restoration of the consultation structures within the company,” explained Mathonsi.

The CCMA-facilitated process is not the only interaction taking place between unions and the SA Post Office, but there are also monthly meetings chaired by the acting GCEO where performance of the SA Post Office is tabled with unions.

“All these activities and meetings with labour are taking under the guidance and oversight of the Administrator. We therefore take a seriously dim view of the allegations which suggest that he does not consult with the unions, as these are factually incorrect and misleading to our stakeholders,” stated Mathonsi.

Mathonsi urged all parties to engage the company leadership around the table to ensure the sustainability of the organisation. “We also urge employees taking part in the industrial action to refrain from engaging in any actions that demonstrates wilful interruption of the SA Post Office’s services, since such actions will not be accepted and prosecutions will follow.”

The SA Post Office has lodged an urgent application at the Labour Court to set aside the certificate of non-resolution and stop any industrial action. This application will be heard on Thursday, 5 March at 10:00.

The SA Post Office said that any employee that wilfully interferers with the conveyance of mail, or hampers any other employees from getting to their workstations either through illegal gatherings or blocking work premises entrances, is liable of a criminal charge in terms of the Postal Services Act.

The SA Post Office also encouraged anyone that becomes aware of any illegal activities that are conducted as a result of the industrial action to report these via its Crime Buster Hotline: 0800 020 070.