Post Office striking workers receive dismissal letters

Workers are demanding a 7.5 percent pay hike but the employer has since rejected the offer.

Claremont Post Office. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has confirmed its members that have been on strike for four months at the South African Post Office have received dismissal letters.

The union says the letters were issued on Friday.

Workers are demanding a 7.5 percent pay hike but the employer has since rejected the offer.

The union and the South African Post Office leadership are expected to meet tomorrow to restart talks aimed at resolving the crippling strike in the sector.

The union's Clyde Mervin says, "The first issue we'll be dealing with is that whether they've received a letter of dismissal, then we'll deal with main issues that related to the strike."

Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele announced on Friday that the South African Post Office's board has resigned voluntarily.

The department has since appointed former Rand Water CEO Dr Simo Lushaba to take charge in the meantime.

STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS

Earlier this month the Telecommunications and Postal Services Portfolio Committee heard that the prolonged strike in the Post Office has crippled all operations.

Andrew Nongogo, General Manager for Public Affairs at the post office told a meeting of parliamentarians that strikers used guerrilla tactics against post offices and this made the delivery of mail difficult.

Nongogo told parliamentarians that even though mail could be sorted, drivers were being intimidated and thus could not deliver mail.

The strike has been the most violent postal strike ever, the committee heard yesterday.

He says the strike is an unprotected one in terms of labour law.

Postal Service Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the post office had decided to do away with the labour broking system and contract workers directly.

However, he said the management problems at the Post Office were chronic and its sustainability could be threatened.

"Some of them have led to speculation of maladministration and that's why we have the SIU investigation."