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Post Office pushing ahead with plans to retrench 6 000 workers, union says

Sapo has been in financial difficulties for a while. Photo: Moeketsi Mamane

Sapo has been in financial difficulties for a while. Photo: Moeketsi Mamane

The Communications Worker Union (CWU) has claimed that the SA Post Office (SAPO) is going ahead with plans to retrench 6 000 workers.

CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said SAPO “dropped a bombshell at the doorstep of the union by giving a notice in terms of Section 189 and 189 (A), which means it intends to dismiss 6 000 workers.”

Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act allows an employer considering large-scale dismissals to undergo a consultative process to determine whether such dismissals are deemed necessary to keep its operations going.

Tshabalala said this happened a week after the Post Office called a meeting with unions to discuss salary cuts of 40% and work-hour reductions.

“The company failed to adhere to its own processes where such matters should and can be discussed at the bargaining chambers with all the key stakeholders.”

SAPO spokesperson Johan Kruger told News24 they were in the midst of “a consultation process about this matter.”

“No final decision has been taken.”

READ| Post Office vows to consult as 40% of jobs at stake in retrenchments plans

This is not the first time that this plan has been brought up. In November the CWU said SAPO had begun consultations on the Section 189 process. Kruger also said at the time that consultations with unions, employees and government were “underway”.

SAPO, which suffered a R2.3 billion loss in 2020/2021, is facing several financial challenges, including around paying medical aid contributions and debts. It suffered a R2.3 billion loss in 2020/21, with its revenue rapidly declining.

Treasury previously projected that the number of SAPO employees would shrink from 16 275 in 2021/22 to a projected 10 254 in 2024/25.

with Khulekani Magubane

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