A file picture of City of Tshwane workers demonstrating outside the municipal headquarters. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
A file picture of City of Tshwane workers demonstrating outside the municipal headquarters. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

No agreement yet on Tshwane benchmarking payments - Samwu

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Aug 11, 2020

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Pretoria - While progress had been made, nothing was set in stone regarding the impasse between the regional SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the City of Tshwane administrators over benchmarking payments.

The union’s regional secretary, Mpho Tladinyane, said numerous meetings were held with Tshwane, the most recent being on Friday, but nothing had come of them yet.

“We would like to categorically state that contrary to the statement issued by the City claiming that there is an agreement reached, there is no such, but rather outcomes of engagements between parties.”

Tladinyane said what had occurred in the meeting was that the City had proposed to pay half of the benchmarking monies owed to workers by the end of this month. The remaining half was to be paid out before the end of the financial year by February 2021.

He said the latest proposal was a move the union appreciated.

“Our position, however, has always been that the employer should pay in line with the collective agreement being the two years.

“We will be consulting with members on the proposal by the employer and it is only members who will give the regional leadership mandate on this matter.

“Until this process has been fully concluded, it is the considered view of the union that there is no agreement but rather advanced discussions.”

Tladinyane said the union had been given until today (Tuesday) and shop stewards would be going to depots and other workplaces to speak to workers.

After that, he said, a bargaining committee would be convened for finalisation.

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.

That move, according to Samwu, would have seen workers receiving increases backdated to July 2017.

There have been service delivery disruptions with services grinding to a halt in the City, after workers affiliated to Samwu downed tools over the benchmarking impasse.

The protests continued despite the City obtaining a court interdict against the striking workers

Of the affected services, Tladinyane said they were dismayed by efforts made by organisations and individuals seeking to drive a wedge between municipal workers and community members.

“We repeat, before we are municipal workers, we are members of communities and as such, there is no benefit for municipal workers when service delivery is interrupted.”

On Friday, the City indicated that after weeks of labour unrest due to the payments of benchmarking monies, an agreement which effectively brought an end to the labour dispute had been reached.

Head administrator Mpho Nawa even went as far as hailing the end of the impasse as a win-win situation for all parties involved in the dispute.

Nawa said the City leadership had remained committed to honouring the agreement entered into between the union representatives and the previous administration, adding that the unions and staff had also agreed to urgently prioritise service delivery and the cleaning of the City.

Pretoria News

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