Sapo still waiting for CWU to officially table counter offer

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SABRINA DEAN – The SA Post Office says it is still waiting for official correspondence to be tabled with the National Leadership Forum (NLF) on a counter proposal by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) that seeks to find a solution to the ongoing strike.

Spokesperson Lungile Lose yesterday told Bloemfontein Courant the reduced wage demand is a good thing but long-term affordability would be a primary concern. However, he says it can only become a subject of discussion once it has been tabled through the NLF, which is tasked with resolving the strike.

Lose adds the Post Office is therefore also not aware of any deadline for a response.

CWU General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala this morning said the counter offer includes a 7,5% wage increase backdated to April and another 0,5% increase from January 2015. The union, one of three currently involved in negotiations to end the strike, is also demanding an 8% increase plus CPI at the start of the new financial year in April 2015, as well as conversion of all employees into permanent staff within sixteen months.

Lose meanwhile says local mail services are normal throughout the Northern Cape and Free State, with the exception of Welkom. He says a number of people are on strike at the Welkom mail centre resulting in a delay of about three days for mail delivery in the Goldfields area.

He adds, however, that customers across central South Africa are negatively impacted because mail arriving from Gauteng, which includes international airmail, is delayed. He says strike action continues in Gauteng, Welkom and Polokwane, but says mail has also started to move in these areas as about 70% of employees have returned to work.

According to a City Press article, police are investigating at least 167 cases of violence related to the more than two-month strike. It quotes Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele’s response to questions in the National Assembly yesterday. Cwele told Parliament the 167 cases reported to police include malicious damage to property, intimidation and assault.