Samwu draws strike bat­tle lines

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

WHILE the South African Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union (Samwu) is adamant their strike will not end un­til all their de­mands are met, the Enoch Mgi­jima Local Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has called for ma­tu­rity and sta­bil­ity in deal­ing with the labour is­sue at hand.

The Rep re­ported “Mu­nic­i­pal strike”, Au­gust 4) that Samwu was de­mand­ing 10 months’ back pay fol­low­ing a bench­mark­ing ex­er­cise last year.

The money was sup­posed to have been paid by last month.

Samwu Chris Hani re­gional sec­re­tary Mongameli Man­cam said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had not met its obli­ga­tion to back pay monies owed for 12 months, “although we had ne­go­ti­ated broadly with the may­oral com­mit­tee, man­age­ment and local labour fo­rum”.

Man­cam said the may­oral com­mit­tee sat twice last week and on Mon­day this week and man­age­ment was in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Samwu’s claims were le­git­i­mate con­cern­ing bench­mark­ing.

Man­cam said there were funds in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that could be used to pay work­ers.

He claimed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had R60-mil­lion in eq­ui­table shares from Na­tional Trea­sury.

“They must start pay­ing im­me­di­ately out of that money.”

He said de­ci­sions taken in the Local Labour Fo­rum were fi­nal.

“Ev­ery party is rep­re­sented – the politi­cians, man­age­ment, unions in mu­nic­i­pal sec­tor in the LLF – no one can chal­lenge that de­ci­sion.”

Other de­mands raised were the ab­sorp­tion of mu­nic­i­pal and ca­sual work­ers as per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees, place­ment of work­ers in the right organogram and a move from grade four to grade six rat­ing in terms of the salaries of the work­ers.

If the de­mands were not met, the strike would be es­ca­lated, with the local Samwu branch in talks with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for sup­port.

Man­cam said Samwu would ren­der the local mu­nic­i­pal­ity “un­govern­able . . . there will be no ser­vice de­liv­ery.”

Samwu also asked for EMLM ex­ec­u­tive mayor Lindiwe Gunuza-Nk­wentsha and may­oral com­mit­tee mem­bers Xoliswa Xelo and Zuk­iswa Rha­lan­eto be re­moved, “be­cause they don’t have po­lit­i­cal vi­sion”.

In a state­ment by Gunuza-Nk­wentsha on be­half of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, she con­firmed that the back pay fig­ures had been less than they should have been fol­low­ing a set­tle­ment with for­mer Lukhanji Mu­nic­i­pal­ity em­ploy­ees for the rec­ti­fi­ca­tion of salary grades in 2016.

“The mat­ter, af­ter dis­cus­sions be­tween in­ter­nal stake­hold­ers and the local labour fo­rum was re­ferred to the Local Gov­ern­ment Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil for ar­bi­tra­tion. It was then agreed that it be ver­i­fied which staff mem­bers were paid in­cor­rectly and such mem­bers be com­pen­sated.”

She said the cal­cu­la­tions to ef­fect such pay­ments were still be­ing done.

“As soon as the fig­ures have been ver­i­fied, the af­fected staff mem­bers will be paid. The cur­rent strike by the mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees is an un­pro­tected strike and there­fore il­le­gal.

“We are mak­ing an earnest plea to our em­ploy­ees to de­sist from em­bark­ing on il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and to re­turn to their work­sta­tions im­me­di­ately while the ad­min­is­tra­tion is fi­nal­is­ing the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process.”

She said prob­lems faced by em­ploy­ees could be re­solved without de­lay­ing ser­vices to the peo­ple of EMLM and apol­o­gised to res­i­dents for any in­con­ve­nience.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity had lost mil­lions of rands be­cause of the last strike, re­sult­ing in the risk of busi­nesses mov­ing away and peo­ple los­ing jobs.

Nk­wentsha said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was will­ing to work with all stake­hold­ers who had a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to en­sure that the peo­ple of EMLM would live in peace and har­mony with ser­vices de­liv­ered.

“We con­tinue to re­spect the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the em­ploy­ees, Samwu and IMATU [In­de­pen­dent Mu­nic­i­pal and Al­lied Trade Union]. In turn, we ex­pect the same re­spect from them.”

She said a dif­fer­ence of opinion should not de­gen­er­ate into chaos “as we are charged with de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to the peo­ple.”

If the de­mands were not met, the strike would be es­ca­lated with the local Samwu branch in talks with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties

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