The South African Municipal Workers Union has implored City of Tshwane Mayor, Cilliers Brink, to halt all attempts at blocking workers’ salary increases.
The labour union was mapping a way forward at a media briefing yesterday after more than a month of demonstrations by affiliated workers.
They are upset over the City of Tshwane’s decision not to grant them wage increases.
The workers are demanding a 5.4% salary hike, while the cash-strapped municipality says it simply does not have the money.
However, SAMWU claims the city has a surplus of over R1 billion, which could easily accommodate the wage hike.
In August, the municipality approached the South African Local Bargaining Council requesting that it be exempt from increasing workers’ salaries for the 2023 financial year due to financial constraints.
It lost that bid after the bargaining council ruled in favour of the workers.
But the municipality isn’t rolling over and playing dead. It’s threatened to take the fight to the Labour Court.
A move, SAMWU Deputy Secretary General, Dumisane Magagula, says will, without doubt, only anger workers.
The labour federation has on the other hand rejected claims that the unprotected strike action is not an attempt to destabilise the municipality in a bid to topple the city’s DA-led coalition government.
SAMWU General Secretary, Nkhetheni Muthavhi, says the demonstrations are about local government’s failure to protect workers.
He’s blamed heavy-handed police officials for the escalating violence and uncertainty after police allegedly used stunt grenades on some striking workers.
The union has vowed to intensify its strike action, should the municipality fail to return to the bargaining table.
The demonstrations have seen hundreds of workers down tools, creating a service delivery nightmare for the cash-strapped capital city. Article by Naomi Kobbie
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena