This comes after SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members were assaulted, allegedly by the veterans, last month.
Some employees in the department said the veterans had been suspended last Friday and shown the gate when they arrived at work on Monday.
“They think they run this municipality. How can you assault fellow employees and expect to get away with it? The assault was apparently caught on camera and so were all those who were at the forefront of the assault. The video was played and six of them got suspended pending internal disciplinary processes,” said one employee.
Another one said that due to fear of reprisals, no one wanted to talk about the incident and the city management didn't want to anger the veterans.
“It's bad because people were assaulted in the workplace. Our grievances are legitimate and we are not saying they must not get their fat salaries, all we wanted to convey to the department head was that we also want elevation to the upper grades,” he said.
The Daily News reported that last month the Samwu members had tried to probe the MKMVA members’ pay progressions from grade 4 to 10 in just a year, costing the municipality nearly R600 000 a month. The progression took the veterans’ salaries from R9000 to around R20 000 a month.
While waiting in the boardroom of the water and sanitation unit's Prior Road offices, to discuss the matter with unit head Ednick Msweli, the union members came under attack, allegedly by MKMVA members.
Shop stewards said they were scared to open assault charges against their attackers.
This preferential treatment led to a strike by water and wastewater employees, who were later joined by other departments, demanding the same salary progression.
The strike crippled the city's water and sanitation services.
At the time, Msweli said they had met union representatives to discuss the assault and concerns raised.
“The leadership is open to engagement and we will be meeting again. We are trying to find a middle ground on all the issues raised by the union leadership,” Msweli said at the time.
However, when contacted yesterday about the suspensions, he declined to comment, referring the Daily News to the city's communications unit.
Abraham Xulu, Samwu eThekwini chairperson, said he had heard about the suspensions, but no formal report had been made to the union.
When asked if they would represent the suspended veterans in their disciplinary cases, Xulu said it was the union's responsibility to represent members when the need arose.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city would not discuss employee-employer relation issues with third parties.