COSATU applauds halt put to SAPO retrenchments

Federation says agreement was the result of exhaustive engagements with SAPO’s business rescue practitioners

COSATU applauds the progressive agreement to halt retrenchments of 6 000 workers at the Post Office

24 April 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) applauds the progressive agreement to halt the retrenchments of 6 000 workers at the South African Post Office (SAPO).  This profound agreement provides relief and hope to thousands of SAPO employees and their families.  COSATU congratulates its Affiliate, the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) for its tireless efforts on behalf of SAPO employees. 

This agreement was the result of exhaustive engagements with SAPO’s business rescue practitioners and the intervention of the leadership of COSATU and the Ministers for Communications and Digital Technologies, Mr. Mondli Gungubele, as well as the Minister for Employment and Labour, Mr. TW Nxesi, and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).  The interventions of the Ministers, reaffirms COSATU and workers’ support for the African National Congress as a reliable ally of workers and champion of working class struggles.

The agreement halts all retrenchments at the SAPO and taps into support from the UIF’s Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS) where assistance paying staff over the next 12 months will be provided to SAPO whilst a more progressive turn around plan not based upon culling staff will be put in place.  The TERS package includes retraining and skilling of SAPO staff to boost productivity.

This gives SAPO a chance to rebuild itself and take its staff with them.  Whilst welcoming this critical lifeline extended to SAPO, its employees and their families, much remains to be done to ensure that SAPO is placed firmly on the path to recovery.  This must include the appointment of competent and visionary management.

Key concurrent interventions to ensure this takes place include the R3.4 billion financial support from Treasury to settle SAPO debts, the full operationalisation of the Postbank now that the Postbank Amendment Act has been enacted enabling it to fully enter the banking and financial services space, and Parliament’s pending adoption of the Post Office Amendment Bill that will allow SAPO to enter the lucrative courier business and position itself as a multi-service one stop site for a variety of government services for the public.  It is fundamental that government at all levels utilise SAPO and the Postbank as their postal and banking service provider, injecting invaluable liquidity.

Whilst we welcome these positive developments, it is critical that this moment is exploited and SAPO, the Postbank and government move with speed to place these once thriving entities back on a sustainable path.  We cannot afford to waste this opportunity.

Issued by Matthew Parks, Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator, COSATU, 24 April 2024