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South Africa – Post Office stops using staffing suppliers

21 February 2013

The South African Post Office (Sapo) has stopped its contracts with staffing firms, known locally as labour brokers. Contract workers have been given fixed-term contracts instead, according to local media reports.

The country’s post office has come under fire from trade unions, such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) which wants to ban the practice of labour broking. Sapo has also been accused of corruption when using labour brokers and is currently being investigated by prosecutors.

Post Office CEO Chris Hlekane this week told parliament that all labour broking groups had received a three-month termination notice from June 2012, with the post office terminating its last contract with a labour broker in September last year.

“All previous labour-broking employees were given 12-month, fixed-term contracts from September 1, 2012 and the last group by September 25, 2012. As at January 31, 2013, a total of 7,911 people had been appointed on 12-month contracts. The reason for the 12-month contracts is that six months was not acceptable to employees,” said Mr Hlekane.

Some workers would be given an opportunity to work part-time on a permanent basis. But the CEO warned of strikes led by disgruntled employees who may not be selected by the company to work permanently. “We are not saying we are not working hard to reach agreements with workers. We are just saying that strikes are one of the risks that we want the committee to be aware of,” said Mr Hlekane.

The announcement was welcomed by unions. 

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