COSATU condemns the appalling neglect and abuse of Post Office workers

The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns in the strongest possible terms the shocking abuses being imposed upon the 16 000 hardworking Post Office employees.  The threats to force workers to take effective 40% salary cuts whilst the CEO overseeing the staggering mismanagement and systematic destruction of the once well-respected Post Office is nothing short of scandalous. This saying something in a nation which has seen no shortage of callous and incompetent CEOs.

This latest attack comes on the back of the same management failing to pay these workers their backpay for the last financial year and denying the access to their medical aid services by fraudulently failing to transfer their contributions to their scheme despite deducting them. This is a criminal offence that the Hawks, SARS, SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority need to be seized with.

It is heartbreaking to witness the neglect and the disdain to which the Post Office workers have been subjected to. About 6000 of them are threatened with retrenchments and they are forced to work in decaying and collapsing infrastructure.

We agree with COSATU’s Affiliate, the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) that the Post Office should have been compensated after the separation of the Post Bank from the Post Office. We call on the government to work with the union to find an amicable solution and take seriously the issues they have been raised with regards to their working conditions. 

The government needs to take the issue of rebuilding state capacity more seriously if the economy and the nation are to recover from the period of state capture, corruption and political vandalism.  Allowing political principals to sleep walking through life whilst their portfolios implode will not suffice.

It is critical that Parliament moves with speed to pass the Postbank Amendment Bill and that government table the Post Office Amendment Bill at Parliament by February 2023 so that it too can be passed by Parliament.  These two Bills are critical to repivoting the Post Office and Post Bank if they are to be able to grow and thrive. 

The government too must recapitalize the Post Office and Postbank to give them a fair chance and the necessary liquidity to compete in their sectors.  The government at all levels from national, provincial to local, from SOEs to entities, needs to play its role in utilising the Post Office and Postbank as their preferred service providers. This is important if these institutions are to have a fighting chance of stabilising and being reconstructed. 

SASSA too needs to pay its fair share to the Post Office for the cost of its disbursement of billions of Rands every month to the millions of social grant recipients. 

The escalating rate of unemployment means that an average employee now must take care of about six people. The rising cost of living and unreasonable interest rate hikes have left many people struggling to afford necessities and are stressed by the ever-rising debt service costs.

We will continue to work with our affiliated union Communications Workers Union (CWU) to implement the mandate of the COSATU 14th National Congress of waging shopfloor struggles to defend collective bargaining and demand better wages and improved working conditions for workers.

Issued by COSATU   

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794