Post Office, trade unions reach wage agreement

The South African Post Office (SAPO) and trade unions have reached an agreement on salary adjustments, bringing an end to the two-week postal strike.

SAPO and its recognised trade unions — Communication Workers Union (CWU), the Democratic Postal Workers Union (DEPACU) and the SA Postal Workers Union (SAPWU) — signed the agreement on Wednesday.

In terms of the agreement, Post Office employees across the board will receive a salary increase of 6.5%, backdated to 1 April 2018.

Furthermore, the contracted working hours for permanent part-time employees have been moved from 21.5 hours a week to 27.5 hours a week. Five hundred of these positions are earmarked to be phased in as permanent full-time employees in due course, following the necessary processes.

Post Office CEO Mark Barnes said accumulated mail is expected to take roughly 20 work days to be processed.

SASSA payments

Barnes said SAPO appreciates the importance of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) project and is committed to work closely with its employees to ensure the livelihoods of the most vulnerable are not put under unnecessary strain.

SAPO has reached a milestone of migrating 2.2 million SASSA beneficiaries to the new SASSA/SAPO issued gold card.

We want to assure all beneficiaries that the IT challenges that impacted last month’s payment run have been resolved. We encourage all social grant beneficiaries to migrate to the new gold SASSA/SAPO card at pay-points, Barnes said.

Barnes thanked customers for their patience and understanding, and trade unions for negotiating in good faith.

He also thanked the Department of Telecommunication and Postal Services, as well as the Council for Counselling, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for their support and guidance.

Meanwhile, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele has welcomed the agreement reached by SAPO and its recognised unions. He said SAPO and its unions have a common interest in ensuring a sustainable future for the organisation in the face of increasing competition in its traditional markets.

The agreement follows a meeting Minister Cwele held with the SAPO board, management and unions on Monday.

It is clear that the parties were already close to reaching an agreement at the time we met. I am pleased that they were able to resolve the outstanding issues in such a short space of time.

The Post Office remains an important organisation which enables citizens in rural areas to access government services. The latest example of this is the partnership it has with SASSA to pay social grants, said Minister Cwele.

Cwele encouraged all the parties to continue engaging each other to seek a common approach to ensuring a sustainable Post Office by focusing on opportunities brought about by e-commerce and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He further called on citizens who have not yet migrated to the new SASSA/SAPO card to urgently do so.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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