The South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) stands in solidarity with public sector unions and workers that have embarked on a national strike in rejection of the 3% that has been offered by government in the Public Service Coordination Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
As SAMWU, we commend the unions that have taken a decision to intensify the strike action and those that have taken a decision to join the strike from the 13th and 17th March. These unions and their members have taken a decision to hold the bull by the horn in the midst of a well-orchestrated attack and undermining of collective bargaining by government.
Government and its negotiators have shown that they are hellbent on implementing austerity measures and neo-liberal policies that are aimed at forcing workers to subsidies the state through salary cuts and increases which are below the real cost of living. We condemn the manner in which government and its negotiators have handled the impasse by dividing workers and degenerating collective bargaining into collective begging.
The fact that government reneged on the last leg of the 2018 salary collective agreement for public sector employees and proceeded to shortchange workers in the succeeding years is indicative of an employer that simply does not care for its employees. To make matters worse, government has forced unions into negotiations for the 2023-24 financial year, whereas there is already a dispute from the previous financial year which remains unresolved.
As SAMWU, we are in full support of this strike action and the noble fight that these workers have embarked on and further support the 10% demand that has been put forward by workers as it is achievable and will go a long way in addressing the salary cuts that public servants have received in the last two financial years.
We urge our members to join the picket lines during their lunch hours. If left unchallenged, the injustice being done to public servants will be extended to municipal workers, especially now that we are preparing to begin with salary and wage negotiations for the next financial year.
United we bargain, divided we beg!
Special Note: Happy 37th Anniversary to COSATU. Formed December 1985