Pretoria - Traffic in the Pretoria CBD is expected to come to a standstill today as Cosatu members march to Tshwane House in solidarity with the ongoing wage strike by municipal workers.
The trade union federation said it supported the demands by SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) to defend the collective bargaining agreement and pay workers their salary increase.
The call was despite the fact that the City last week decided to file the salary and wage increases exemption application at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council.
The exemption application is expected to be heard at the bargaining council between the city and labour unions Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union and Samwu on August 23.
According to the city, the application was anchored on irrefutable evidence of its financial position, “which is the main reason why there was no budget appropriation for salary and wage increases for the 2023/24 financial year”.
Cosatu said it supported workers’ demand for 3.5% and 5.4%, respectively. It also called on the municipality to reinstate all dismissed workers with immediate effect.
This comes after the municipality had made known that it fired more than 90 workers who failed to heed its call to desist from striking.
This week, the SACP in Tshwane also slammed the decision to fire workers, and also expressed support to Samwu members on strike.
SACP district spokesperson Mpho Mogakane said: “District unequivocally stands in solidarity with the striking workers of Samwu and support their genuine demands for the outstanding 3.5% and 5.4% wage increments.”
He condemned “the DA's targeted assault and the city’s fascist intention to dismiss more than 2 000 workers summarily, linked with the DA long-held plans to depopulate the labour force, ultimately to save the City money by creating unemployment”.
Marchers will convene in the morning in Marabastad before departing to Tshwane House, where they would hand over the memorandum of demands.
They are expected to use WF Nkomo Street, pass Bosman Street, turn left into Sophy de Bruyn Street, pass Pretorius Street and then turn left into Francis Baard Street.
Motorists are advised to avoid the affected streets and use alternative routes such as Nana Sita Street, Visagie Street, Es’kia Mphahlele Drive and Boom Street.
The Tshwane multiparty coalition said it was concerned by the recent surge in violence and lawlessness that has marred the ongoing illegal strike by Samwu.
“Ultimatums have been issued, and in light of continued disruptions, violence and intimidation, 94 employees participating in the illegal strike have been dismissed.
“Furthermore, 17 employees have been arrested for their involvement in violent activities and the destruction of municipal property.
“While we understand the desire for salary increases, we must prioritise the overall needs of our city and its residents,” coalition partners said in a media statement.