South Africa: Samwu Takes the War to the Doorsteps of City of Ekhuruleni

press release

The South African Municipal Worker's Union (SAMWU) in Ekurhuleni is shocked and agitated that out of the blue, the City Ekurhuleni has provoked municipal workers and declared war against them. This after the City informed workers that they will not be getting any salary increase this year.

As per the salary and wage agreement signed at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC), which the City is party to, workers are due for a 6.25% salary and wage increase.

City of Ekurhuleni held a Council meeting on the 25th of June and resolved that there will be a total free on salaries for the 2020/21 financial years. This despite the fact that there is a salary and wage collective agreement in place.. On the 16th of July, just 10 days before implementation of the agreement, the employer formally informed unions of its intentions to renege on the collective agreement.

In the early stages of the national lockdown, the City's Mayor, Mzwandile Masina announced a salary cut challenge wherein he along with his executive will be taking a salary cut. The Mayor further sought to, with an iron fist unilaterally include municipal workers in the salary cuts without any consultation. We are convinced that the City has taken this posture as retaliation and punishment to workers for having have refused to participate in this challenge.

Workers in the City are agitated at this unprovoked attack against them, if the City had good intentions, they should have raised this issue months before when they were preparing the budget for the financial year. Instead, the City has resorted to blindsiding workers by making this unexpected announcement when workers were already expecting what is due to them.

We do not buy the story that the City does not have the money to pay workers what is due to them. In fact, the City of Ekurhuleni has become the capital city of corruption in the province wherein municipal resources are being used for politicking, settling political scores and enriching politically connected individuals at the expense of service delivery. Workers cannot be used as scapegoats for the rot that is happening in the City.

The City wastes a lot of money through double payments by appointing contractors even in instances where there are municipal workers paid to do the same functions. These very same contractors go to an extent of invoicing the City for work that has not been done and work that was done by municipal workers.

Workers are not convinced that there is no money to honour the agreement, if the City intends pleading poverty, it should recoup all the money that has been wasted through double payments, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Millions are being used on lawyers to silence and victimize workers, a classical example of inefficiencies and incompetencies of the City's management. Workers cannot be punished for, corruption and the blatant looting of municipal resources.

Workers are also demanding the immediate reinstatement of their colleagues from the Solid Waste Department stationed at Kempton Park who had been unfairly and unprocedurally dismissed by Xolani Nciza without affording them an opportunity to state their case. These are just some of the examples of just how clueless people running the City are.

War has been declared against municipal workers by the City of Ekurhuleni, municipal workers have no other option but to fight for what rightfully and legally belongs to them. Our sneakers are ready, we will conclude this matter on the streets.

Workers will therefore be marching to the offices of the City of Ekurhuleni to demand immediate payment of their salary and wage increase and the immediate reinstatement of their 50 colleagues. The march will take place as follows;

Date : 27 July 2020

Time. : 09:00

Venue : Gathering at Dukathole Park, Germiston CBD and march to City of Ekurhuleni Head Offices in Germiston

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