Communications strike looming

Services at Telkom and the Post Office will be shut down if demands by workers are not met, the Communication Workers Union said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Mass action by 23,000 workers was planned for the first week of September, CWU deputy president Clyde Mervin said.

“We are prepared to move on issues as a matter of urgency,” Mervin said.

Notice of a strike would be served just after August 25, if demands were not met.

The CWU wants the immediate suspension of SA Post Office (Sapo) chief executive Motswanesi Lefoka and chief operating officer John Wentzel, who are being investigated for alleged corruption.

If the call is not met, “we will take to the streets, and demand their dismissal”, Mervin said.

Sapo’s board on Monday announced that an investigation into the new Sapo head office building had revealed it had spent R19 million prior to renting out the new building at Eco Point in Centurion.

It was now trying to recover this money.

An additional R425 million was spent on the 10-year-lease, an amount which the board at Sapo deemed as an “irregular expenditure”.

Mervin accused board chairwoman Vuyo Mahlati of “defending” top executive managers, because allegations against them only “came to glow”, when media raised questions at a recent press conference held by Sapo.

The CWU was meeting the Sapo board on Wednesday, over the “lease bungle” and was not yet finalised.

Details on this would be divulged later on Wednesday, he said following the press conference.

The Public Protector and CWU also met on July 26 to address the issue.

Mervin said the union would receive feedback on this in a few weeks.

A wage dispute was also reached with Sapo, which was offering an “insulting peanuts” increase of 6.2 percent.

“Sapo top executive management is looting public funds, to enrich themselves with corruption… while at the same time, they are refusing to give our workers what they deserve.”

The CWU is demanding 11 percent and there was “no turning back” on this he said.

The union will go to the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for feedback on negotiations next week.

Telkom had offered workers a five percent wage increment, but the union was also demanding 11 percent in this instance, he said.

A wage dispute with workers at communications company Trudon, had also been declared.

That company had proposed a six percent increase for workers, but the demand was for 9 percent.

“We will negotiate with them on the street,” Mervin said.

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Communications strike looming