Communication Workers Union (CWU) would like to commend workers who were in the forefront of the social grants pay-outs. The trade union was part of the team led by Minister of Social Development Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Communication and Digital Technology Ms Stella Ndabeni – Abrahams with MEC Panyaza Lusufi that travelled across Gauteng, in the last two days to assess the conditions at the pay points in the province. The first day which was Monday (30 March 2020) was met with a number of challenges such as long queues as social grant beneficiaries came in their numbers, despite the
announcements by the government that the 30th – 31st March 2020 is reserved for our senior citizens. In some areas, there was a shortage of money which caused a panic to grant beneficiaries in that they may have returned home empty handed, however that was resolved. In Diepsloot we experienced power cut due to load shedding.
However, despite all these challenges; the successes outweighed the short- comings. The long queues started in the early hours of Monday but committed workers moved swiftly to mitigate the situation. Without having been trained to deal with such situations, workers succeeded in guiding masses on precautionary measures such as, “social distancing and usage of sanitisers.” In many paying points, workers arrived at a much earlier time than their expected schedule. In other areas, workers volunteered their skills and services just to ensure that our elderly people are paid on time and that the South African Post Office is being efficient in this regard. The selflessness and patriotism is a demonstration that workers in Post Office are capable to deliver whatever it takes if working conditions, material and tools of work are provided.
CWU also acknowledges the efforts by the South African Post Office in some areas by making sure that precautionary measures are put in place. However, we are equally concerned about some retail stores in SAPO which are yet to receive these required materials. It is not acceptable to place workers lives at risk by responding slowly in other areas.
We are also concerned about the big businesses in particular the private sector, that seem not to take the objective of the lockdown serious. They do all in their power to operate business as usual. The trend of ignoring the law is largely seen in the call centre industry where workers are compelled to work in overcrowded and sweatshop environments, despite the limitation of 100 people in any gathering. We further note that other telecoms companies totally ignore a call to put in place precautionary measures. We call upon business to take workers safety and lives seriously and provide necessary material that will assist in curbing the spread of the COVID 19. And to those who continue to flout the law, we will report them to authorities or open criminal charges.
Issued by the Office of the General Secretary
CWU General Secretary
Cell: 061 481 1080