South African Post Office Workers Question Agreement to Withdraw Retrenchments

South African postal workers skeptical of union deal to halt layoffs, see it as an "electioneering ploy." TERS funding crucial to preserve jobs, but workers question lack of consultation.

Israel Ojoko
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South African Post Office Workers Question Agreement to Withdraw Retrenchments

South African Post Office Workers Question Agreement to Withdraw Retrenchments

Workers at the South African Post Office are expressing dissatisfaction and skepticism over an agreement signed by unions and employers to withdraw planned retrenchments.

The agreement, which seeks to implement a temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) for up to 12 months, has been met with criticism from many workers who claim they were not consulted.

The South African Post Office had previously announced plans to lay off 6,000 employees. However, the new agreement signed by the Post Office and unions including the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the South African Postal Workers Union, and the Democratic Postal and Communications Union aims to preserve employment or limit the effects of the retrenchments through the TERS scheme.

Under the agreement, the parties have agreed to apply for funding from TERS for a maximum period of 12 months. If approved, this will allow the Post Office to pay 75% of the salaries of bargaining unit employees classified under work categories Level C and below, with the Post Office paying the remaining 25%. The withdrawal of retrenchments is contingent upon the successful application for TERS relief funding.

Despite the agreement, many workers have expressed their disappointment and skepticism. Some have called it an "electioneering ploy" or a way to discourage a planned strike. Others have labeled it a "sellout position" and questioned the lack of worker signatures on the agreement.

Why this matters: The South African Post Office's financial struggles and potential layoffs have significant implications for both workers and the broader economy. The outcome of the TERS application and the workers' response to the agreement could shape the future of the postal service and labor relations in South Africa.

The Communication Workers Union has rejected the notion that it has sold out the workers, stating that those speaking out are being misled. If the TERS application is unsuccessful by the end of May, all withdrawn retrenchment letters will be reinstated. The agreement does not impact all retrenched workers, and those in higher employment categories who have received retrenchment letters remain retrenched.

Key Takeaways

  • SA Post Office workers criticize agreement to halt 6,000 planned layoffs.
  • Agreement seeks to implement TERS scheme to pay 75% of salaries for 12 months.
  • Workers claim lack of consultation and call agreement an "electioneering ploy".
  • If TERS application fails, all withdrawn retrenchment letters will be reinstated.
  • Outcome of TERS application and worker response could shape future of postal service.