Telkom South Africa could face crippling strike

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Services at Telkom and the Post Office will be shut down if demands by workers are not met, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Mass action by 23,000 workers was planned for the first week of September, CWU deputy president Clyde Mervin said. “We are prepared to move on issues as a matter of urgency,” Mervin said. Notice of a strike would be served just after August 25, if demands were not met.

The CWU wants the immediate suspension of Post Office CEO Motswanesi Lefoka and chief operating officer John Wentzel, who are being investigated for alleged corruption. If the call is not met, “we will take to the streets, and demand their dismissal”, Mervin said.

The Post Office board on Monday announced that an investigation into the new Sapo head office building had revealed it had spent R19m prior to renting out the new building at Eco Point in Centurion. It was now trying to recover this money. An additional R425m was spent on the 10-year-lease, an amount which the Post Office board deemed as “irregular expenditure”.

Mervin accused board chair Vuyo Mahlati of “defending” top executive managers, because allegations against them only “came to glow”, when media raised questions at a recent press conference held by the Post Office.

The CWU was meeting the board on Wednesday, over the “lease bungle” and was not yet finalised. Details on this would be divulged later on Wednesday, he said following the press conference.

The Public Protector and CWU also met on July 26 to address the issue. Mervin said the union would receive feedback on this in a few weeks.

Telkom, meanwhile, had offered workers a 5% wage increment, but the union was demanding 11%, he said. A wage dispute with workers at communications company Trudon, had also been declared. That company had proposed a 6% increase for workers, but the demand was for 9%. “We will negotiate with them on the street,” Mervin said.