A file picture of municipal workers marching to Tshwane House demanding outstanding payments. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
A file picture of municipal workers marching to Tshwane House demanding outstanding payments. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

No agreement on Tshwane Samwu payments after meeting with Lebogang Maile

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published Jul 30, 2020

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Pretoria - MEC for local government Lebogang Maile was asked by the ANC to intervene in the impasse between the regional SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Tshwane administrators over benchmarking payments.

However, it appeared that the efforts by Maile haven’t yielded positive results as the union workers continued to embark on a protest to air their dissatisfaction with the administrators.

This emerged during a virtual imbizo hosted by the provincial union to update the public and the media about the development affecting various municipalities in Gauteng regarding the wage increment, Covid-19 allowance and benchmarking payments.

Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said: "We had a meeting with the MEC for local government after the ANC has instructed the MEC to meet us and ensure that there is indeed a lasting solution on the (benchmarking) matter."

He said the union proposed to Maile a number of options from where the City could draw savings so that it can pay the workers.

"It is unfortunate that the administrators have taken a particular posture that indicates to us that they will not be paying that particular money," Tladinyane said.

The City, Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union entered into a benchmarking collective agreement in November last year following the upgrade of the City from category 9 to 10 in 2017.

Tladinyane said: "This agreement would have seen municipal workers in the City receiving an increase backdated to July 2017.

“Payments were made in January 2020 and workers were expecting the last lump sum payment in July 2020 and that was not done."

He said the City indicated on July 14 in the local labour forum that it had R300 million, which would cover one financial year instead of two.

"Two days later the City indicated that the money was no longer there. We were informed that the City used the money to pay third parties such as SARS and medical aids which were in arrears due to negligence," he said.

To date, the union has approached the South African Local Government Bargaining Council in a bid to force the City to comply with the agreement reached by the two parties last year.

There have been reports of service delivery disruption allegedly caused by Samwu workers engaging in the ongoing protest.

The protests continued despite the fact that the City had obtained a court interdict against the striking workers last week.

Head administrator Mpho Nawa had bemoaned the fact that protesters tampered with delivery of services, which included switching off power at a clinic, damaging traffic lights and municipal property.

Nawa repeatedly said the City won't afford to pay the benchmarking monies because its finances were in a precarious state.

Tladinyane said: "We have noted allegations that municipal workers in the City of Tshwane have deliberately been switching off electricity and water. These allegations are strongly denied, they are nothing but an attempt to drive a wedge between workers and communities."

*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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