Striking SA council workers face sackings & pay cuts

SAMWU municipal workers in Tshwane have been on strike for six weeks over pay and non-payment of salaries

THE Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (IMATU) has reacted angrily after it was informed that its striking members in local government in Tshwane who have been taking part in a six-week long strike will have their pay cut by council management.

It comes after Tshwane councillors decided that strikers would be sacked with 122 workers being made redundant already.
The strikers are also in the South African municipal workers’ union (SAMWU).
The action followed the Labour Court in Johannesburg granting Tshwane an interim injunction against the strike declaring it to be unlawful and unprotected on July 28th.
The council workers have been on strike over delayed annual salary increases allegedly overdue since 2021.
They demand the implementation of their 3.5% and 5.4% salary increases for the years 2021 and 2023.
Last Wednesday, the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) convened a meeting to arbitrate between the unions and Tshwane.
Tshwane had applied to SALGBC for an exemption from certain provisions of the salary and wage collective agreement entered into with the unions in 2021.
Bokaba said Tshwane had dismissed 122 employees for participating in the unprotected strike.
‘The city will continue to implement the no work, no pay principle.’
Imatu Tshwane manager Lynette Burns-Coetzee, said strike tension would soar to new heights.
Burns-Coetzee said Tshwane had failed to pay salaries to several non-striking employees last Friday.
‘Imatu demanded to know why Tshwane had no contingency plan in place to assist non-striking union members who were unable to enter the workplace due to physical restrictions and intimidation by striking colleagues.’
She said Tshwane had also failed to engage with unions on the non-payment of salaries.
‘Imatu is scheduling an urgent meeting with the city manager to address the unlawful withholding of salaries.
‘The union is also questioning the city’s recent move to examine attendance records and work performance of non-striking employees amid protest action.
‘The strike has entered its sixth week and we do not accept the claims of insufficient funds to pay salary increases to workers.’
Samwu Gauteng secretary Mpho Tladinyane said Samwu was dismayed by the attitude of the Tshwane coalition towards the residents and workers.
‘Councillors from the coalition that includes DA, ActionSA, FF+, IFP and ACDP boycotted Thursday’s special council meeting that was called by Speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana, where the sole agenda was for the council to discuss the current state of affairs of Tshwane.
‘It’s very concerning that the same employer doesn’t allow workers an opportunity to execute their duties’.
‘Drivers can’t access buses to ferry residents, maintenance and technicians can’t use work vehicles to respond to outages, metre readers can’t do their work as they rely on city transportation which is locked in by the employer.
‘As a result of these actions, many residents of Tshwane are likely to receive incorrect billing, reject to pay those inaccurate bills and worsen the financial state of the city.’
He said in some service delivery depots, workers were locked out and forced to sign attendance registers outside the gate inside their supervisors’ cars.
Tladinyane alleged: ‘In a nutshell, the employer doesn’t want to make the working environment conducive to employees.
‘These are some of the instances which have resulted in residents not receiving the much-needed services from the city.’

  • In a written statement on Tuesday, The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Gauteng has said that it deeply mourns the tragic loss of five innocent children in a devastating fire that occurred at Itireleng informal settlement, Laudium, Pretoria on Sunday 27th of August 2023.

COSATU wrote: ‘Our hearts go out to the grieving families affected by this heart-breaking incident.
‘The incident unfolded tragically as the children’s mothers were reportedly at a local tavern when a devastating fire erupted. It was a harrowing night, marked by the ominous glow of flames that engulfed their home.
‘The incident served as reminder of the importance of vigilance and prioritising the safety of loved ones, especially in the face of unforeseen emergencies.
‘COSATU Gauteng calls for a thorough and expedited investigation into the cause of the fire, with a focus on uncovering the truth and ensuring accountability where warranted.
‘The province further commends the police for the quick arrest made and we call for judiciary departments to ensure accountability.
‘COSATU in the province emphasises the importance of providing adequate housing and the need for improving the safety and well-being of all residents.
‘We strive to advocate for policies and initiatives that not only address the housing crisis but also foster an environment where residents can thrive, ensuring that their fundamental rights to shelter and well-being are upheld.
‘We call upon the relevant authorities, including the City of Tshwane, to provide the necessary support to the families affected by this incident.
‘We urge all the communities, authorities, and parents to prevent future tragedies like the one witnessed in Laudium.
‘Our hope is that through collective efforts, we can create a safer and more responsible environment for all children.’
Meanwhile, COSATU in Gauteng has said it rejects with contempt the delaying tactics by the Gauteng Provincial and National Government in the scrapping of e-tolls.
The Gauteng e-toll system was meant to be scrapped at the end of last year, but it is still in place eight months later. The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has collected about Rands 272.5 million from Gauteng motorists between January and July this year.
Parties involved in the decision to scrap e-tolls have still not reached an agreement on how to end it.
Sanral has been collecting hundreds of millions of rands in e-toll fees from Gauteng motorists eight months after the system was meant to be scrapped.
During his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement last year, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the system would be scrapped by 31 December 2023.
‘However, on New Year’s Day, the provincial government said an agreement with the National Treasury had not yet been concluded to support the deactivation, and that a notice to shut off the system would be put in “early 2023”.
‘But, well over halfway through the year the system is still in place.’

  • The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Western Cape including frustrated residents will be leading a protest in support of the High Electricity Tariffs Must Fall Movement at Cape Town Civic Centre on Saturday.

Cosatu said it will be joined by its alliance partners, civil society, political parties and ordinary citizens from across the city and province in the protest.
Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said they are joining the protest because of the city’s decision to increase its electricity tariffs by a massive 17.6% which is  above the 15,1% tariff set by the National Energy Regulator.
De Bruyn said the city’s decision to increase the tariffs above the Nersa directive violates the provisions of Section 15 (2) of the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006.
‘We are going there in our numbers to express our disappointment, frustration and anger.
‘It is quite clear that the city doesn’t care about the working class, this city doesn’t care about the people of this province and this city, and this city doesn’t care about the poorest of the poor, so we are demanding that they comply with our demands.
De Bruyn said they will be demanding that the city reduce the electricity tariffs and comply with the Nersa decision.
‘Failing that we will have to take have to take other action.’
During Nersa’s public hearings, the City of Cape Town claimed it needed the extraordinary increase due to lower sales.