CAPE TOWN - Workers demanding wage increase and permanent low-level employment have called for the City to stop exploitation through the Labour Broker system and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Hundreds of municipal workers protested in the city centre on Thursday in a strike by South Africa’s largest labour federation the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and affiliates around the country.
The nationwide protest aims to put pressure on the government and private sector to "fix the economic mess".
Workers held up posters reading "Dan Plato we want our increases" in a message to the Cape Town mayor.
Cosatu provincial secretary Malvern De Bruyn said the union was unhappy with how the City treated its workers in Cape Town, especially municipal workers.
“We demand that the city should at least fill 10 000 permanent low-level vacancies in its organizational structure. Insourcing of all outsourced services and that the city supports all projects and co-operatives of the Back to Work Campaign. The city (should) stop exploitation via the labour broker system and convert those vacancies into permanent employment. We call for a ban of labour brokers.”
Malixole Njamela, a supervisor at the Klipfontein solid waste depot, said workers had to fight for everything they needed.
“We have been working hard even during hard levels of Covid-19. Instead of employees given more benefits, they are reduced. Workers were supposed to be given risk allowance last year but we have not received anything. Housing allowance and advancement of workers was also brought to an end. Employer's plan and make decisions without informing workers, shops rewards or unions. We just see things being implemented,” said Njamela.
Another worker, Ntsika Matebese said: “We are not being taken seriously despite our commitment and qualifications. We hear there is training and other people also testify to this but me and other workers have not received it so far. There is no growth since we are not being employed to positions we are trying to apply for. Our calls for increase have fallen on deaf ears hence we are protesting today, we earn peanuts. Hopefully there will be changes now moving forward.”
City's Employee Relations Manager, Justice Nedzamba said he would provide Mayor Dan Plato with the union’s memorandum of demands and respond within the 14 day time frame given by union representatives.
“We will go back and study the papers as they are long and then will make a decision,” Nedzamba said.