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Retrenched Post Office workers demand full packages

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Retrenched Post Office workers say they’ve been let down by the entity, government, as well as their union representatives. The workers are demanding that all the retrenchment packages due to them be paid in full.

This comes after the employer had promised the workers to pay their benefits over an eight-month period. The workers have told SABC News that they now face a bleak future with outstanding pension fund contributions and medical aid by the employer. SA Post Office plans to cut its headcount by more than 4 000.

Last year, the Pretoria High Court ordered that the South African Post Office be placed under Business Rescue with immediate effect.

The Post Office had been in provisional liquidation in the run-up to the court ruling. Initially, the Post Office planned to retrench 6 000 workers from a staff complement of 11 083.

After Good Friday, the employer commenced the process. Retrenched workers say they’ve accepted their fate; however they want their benefits paid in full and not over a period of 8 to 10 months. The Post Office says it will make payments to workers in instalments as soon as it gets money from National Treasury.

“Take us back to our jobs, those who want to and those of us who don’t want to, we want all our monies as in all our monies not something that you will dictate on how we get our monies, we want our lump sum,” a retrenched worker says.

“We felt let down by our unions because nobody has even come to us and explain everything, we just saw it on emails, they sent emails explaining that we will get it. It’s not even guaranteed that we will get it in 8 months they said they will give us in 8 months if they get money from Treasury. So far there’s no money from the Treasury,” another retrenched worker explains.

Another issue that these workers want to be addressed, is that of their outstanding pension fund contributions. Workers say they were shocked to discover that the Post Office last made payments to their pension fund in April 2020. This was after the workers inquired about their contributions with their pension fund administrator, Sanlam.

Workers have also shared screenshots with SABC News of how much they will receive from their fund after 6-10 years of service. Retrenched Post Office worker Motshabi Motloha says they want what is due to them in full.

“The Post Office was not paying our statutory benefits from 2020 April till date, so we want to know, the minister must tell us how then they are going to pay us these monies that was not paid to the relevant service providers like your pension fund, your UIF, your SARS, our medical aids. So, we want to know that comrade because now that we are retrenched, we want to know how then we are going to get those monies due to us.”

More concerning is that workers have received letters from their medical aid scheme, MEDIPOS, threatening that should their employer not settle their total contribution debt by the date of membership termination, they will be personally liable for the settlement of the debt.

Post Office labour unions, the Department of Communications and Digital Technology and the entity’s Business Rescue Practitioner were not available to comment at the time of publishing.

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