Mu­nic­i­pal strike ends as coun­cil reaches deal


THE Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM) work­ers’ strike has come to an end af­ter drag­ging on for a month.

The Rep re­ported (“Mu­nic­i­pal strike”, Au­gust 4) that work­ers af­fil­i­ated to the South African Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union (Samwu) were de­mand­ing 10 months of back pay fol­low­ing a bench­mark­ing ex­er­cise last year. At the time, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­di­cated it would in­ves­ti­gate whether there were peo­ple who were owed money.

The South African Lo­cal Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil ruled in favour of the pay­ment of the work­ers.

The Rep re­ported (“Samwu draws strike bat­tle lines”, Au­gust 11) that Samwu Chris Hani dis­trict re­gional sec­re­tary Mon­galemeli Man­cam had said that if the de­mands were not met, the strike would be es­ca­lated.

Man­cam said Samwu would ren­der the mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­govern­able, while the union also called for EMLM ex­ec­u­tive mayor Lindiwe Gunuza-Nk­wentsha and may­oral com­mit­tee mem­bers Xoliswa Xelo and Zuk­iswa Rha­lane to be re­moved.

In an in­ter­view this week, Man­cam said fol­low­ing meet­ings on Fri­day and Mon­day, it was agreed work­ers would be paid the out­stand­ing 10 months’ worth of pay.

“We agreed that all 300 ca­sual work­ers must be ab­sorbed as per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees. How­ever, it will hap­pen in phases of 20 work­ers. We sub­jected the is­sue of ‘no work no pay’ to a com­mit­tee that will con­sist of labour, the em­ployer, em­ployee and unions for fur­ther dis­cus­sions that took place on Wed­nes­day and yes­ter­day.”

Man­cam said it was ex­pected all work­ers would be back at work yes­ter­day as some had been wait­ing for the pay­ment to be re­flected in their bank ac­counts.

Man­cam said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity should not un­der­mine the work­ers or in­fringe on their rights in the fu­ture.

“We have not yet met again with the ANC Re­gional Work­ers’ Com­mit­tee (RWC) and are wait­ing for a fol­low-up from the meet­ing last Mon­day.”

He said the fol­low-up meet­ing was sup­posed to have taken place on Wed­nes­day, but that did not hap­pen. The union would con­tinue to call for the re­moval of the mayor

and Xelo and Rha­lane from their po­si­tions, as the strike had been “the re­sult of po­lit­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive paral­y­sis in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity”.

In a press re­lease, Gunuza-Nk­wentsha apol­o­gised to the com­mu­ni­ties af­fected and other stake­hold­ers for the dis­rup­tion of ser­vice de­liv­ery, adding that in­ten­sive strate­gies would be em­ployed to has­ten sus­tain­able ser­vice de­liv­ery.

She ac­knowl­edged the im­pact of the strike on so­ci­ety and con­firmed that the labour ac­tion was at an end.

“We thank the [res­i­dents for the] co­op­er­a­tion of stake­hold­ers in­volved who pro­vided much sup­port to en­sure that a last­ing so­lu­tion is reached. We have, as part of con­flict man­age­ment tech­niques, so­licited train­ing for the lo­cal labour fo­rum so that it is equipped to man­age is­sues and avoid this kind of labour un­rest in the fu­ture.”

She said the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship was com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary en­vi­ron­ment for fruit­ful en­gage­ment in the in­sti­tu­tion as part of deep­en­ing democ­racy.

“Ours is to en­sure there is proper po­lit­i­cal gov­er­nance aimed at achiev­ing the mu­nic­i­pal vi­sion and mis­sion. We con­tinue to be com­mit­ted to en­sure that the ideas and ob­jec­tives of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity are achieved to­wards im­proved ser­vice de­liv­ery.”

She said the pa­tience of the com­mu­nity was ap­pre­ci­ated, with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to up­date the com­mu­nity on plans and progress be­ing made.

“We shall work tire­lessly to im­prove our ser­vices for bet­ter de­liv­ery.”

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