Samwu accused of fighting ANC battles in run-up to municipal elections
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Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Randall Williams has accused the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) of using the protests to demand the implementation of wage increment to fight the ANC battles in the run-up to next week’s municipal elections.
In a radio interview Williams, who is also the DA mayoral candidate, challenged Samwu members to take off their red T-shirts and wear the yellow ANC T-shirts to show their true political party colours.
He also suggested that the union wanted to throw service delivery in disarray before the polls to make the current administration look bad in the eyes of the residents.
In a media statement, Williams said: “This is unlawful labour action and it is clearly a political act that attempts to sabotage the work of the city.”
He said most of the workers were eager to return to work, but were intimidated.
“We have received reports of bus services being disrupted, waste contractors being intimidated and Tshwane staff being denied entry into their offices or threatened as a result of this unlawful strike action,” Williams said.
On Friday night, the municipality successfully obtained an urgent court interdict at the Labour Court in a bid to stop workers from embarking on an illegal strike.
Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane, however, said workers would not be deterred by the court interdict from demanding money.
“There is nothing that will stop us from demanding money from the City. Remember that during the workers’ protest over benchmarking payouts, the administrators also went to obtain a court order, but the workers went ahead making their demands,” he said.
He rubbished the suggestions by Williams that Samwu was doing the ANC’s political bidding.
“We have proven all along that we don’t fight political battles. The most fierce battle that we fought was against administrators, who were perceived to be ANC people. For him to think that we are pushing a political agenda is unthinkable,” Tladinyane said.
He said the City and the union signed a collective agreement on benchmarking in which there was a clause known as 9.5, which stated that all employees on top notch would be paid an annual payment in lieu of satisfactory performance.
“The City has since applied to the bargaining council to remove clause 9.5,” he said. Workers were also aggrieved that the City had not communicated when it would implement the 3.5% salary increment, backdated to July.
The increment was as part of the collective agreement signed by both Samwu and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union with SA Local Government Association in September. Workers were demanding that the 3.5% be implemented on October 26.
Attempts to get comment from the ANC proved fruitless yesterday.