Con­fu­sion over union regis­tra­tion sparks mu­nic­i­pal work­ers protest

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Tam­lyn Jolly

CITY of uMh­lathuze mu­nic­i­pal work­ers on Wed­nes­day staged a protest out­side the lo­cal of­fices of the CCMA, de­mand­ing an­swers over their union mem­ber­ship. For­mer SAMWU (South African Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union) mem­bers who wish to change to DEMAWUSA (Demo­cratic Mu­nic­i­pal and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union of South Africa) say the CCMA is ‘threat­en­ing the process and ma­nip­u­lat­ing the sys­tem’. The protest was over­seen by SAFTU (South African Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions), whose pro­vin­cial Deputy Chair­per­son, Themba Shobede, said or­gan­i­sa­tional rights have been ap­plied for, but the CCMA has not been com­pli­ant in over­see­ing the process. ‘We be­lieve this is to block SAFTU in KZN and we want the CCMA to di­rectly ad­dress the peo­ple,’ said Shobede. SAFTU pro­vin­cial Trea­surer, Thabiso Zulu, said uMh­lathuze Mu­nic­i­pal­ity work­ers want to change to DEMAWUSA ‘to ex­pose cor­rup­tion’, and that it is their Con­sti­tu­tional right to choose their own union. CCMA rep­re­sen­ta­tives ad­dressed the pro­test­ers, but de­clined to give of­fi­cial com­ment un­til af­ter their meet­ing with SAFTU of­fi­cials. ‘DEMAWUSA is a newly formed union, reg­is­tered as a trade union since Jan­uary 2016, how­ever they are not recog­nised at lo­cal govern­ment level and at our mu­nic­i­pal­ity,’ said City of uMh­lathuze spokesper­son, Mdu Ncalane. He said DEMAWUSA filed for recog­ni­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tional rights in July last year, but did not meet the re­quire­ments set out in the main col­lec­tive agree­ment. They de­clared a dis­pute and the process was set for con­cil­i­a­tion, but the process was even­tu­ally with­drawn by the CCMA ow­ing to the time lapse. The process started again ear­lier this year, but Ncalane said the work­ers had un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions in ex­pect­ing to be trans­ported to their pro­posed meet­ing venue when the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process must be held at their em­ployer’s premises. ‘The mat­ter is now of­fi­cially post­poned to 12 and 13 De­cem­ber for the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process and all af­fected par­ties have been no­ti­fied,’ he said. ‘The min­i­mum thresh­old in terms of the Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil Con­sti­tu­tion is 15% of the work­force, which is why the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process is im­por­tant and a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple. ‘There are no hid­den agen­das to de­prive them of their rights.’

City of uMh­lathuze work­ers try­ing to change union mem­ber­ship em­barked on a protest, aimed at the CCMA

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