The South African Post Office (SAPO) has endured a four-month unprotected strike by its employees. The strike has crippled operations and substantially delayed the delivery of mail countrywide.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has dropped their wage increase demand from 15 percent to 7.5 percent; however the SAPO says that it still won’t be able to afford the wage hike. The CWU also called for the SAPO board to be dissolved. The SAPO complied with this plea when the board voluntarily stepped down last week.
Talks have resumed in an attempt to resolve the strike.
The post office is a major state-owned enterprise; however the monetary value lost in this strike is but a fraction of the total lost due to strike action this year.
The world’s third largest Platinum mine, Lonmin, posted a full-year pre-tax loss of $326 million, compared to a profit of $140 million the year before. This was the direct aftermath of the record five-month strike by its employees earlier this year.
As part of Lonmin's turnaround strategy they have cut costs from $400 million to $300 million. They also are considering shutting down some of the more costly mine shafts and will be cutting down excess staff.
Economic development undoubtedly has been stunted by short falls in addressing labor issues and will continue to be until alternative avenues are made available for workers to resolve their grievances.
Some might argue that this is the role of the labor unions; however the combination of South African culture and unions tends to be more often than not destructive rather than constructive.
Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.
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