Pretoria - A blame game has ensued between the City of Tshwane and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) as the “unlawful” strike by staff affiliated to the organisation enters its fifth week.
The metro and two unions, including Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Union (Imatu), met the Local Government Collective Bargaining Council yesterday.
However, the meeting stalled due new arguments being introduced by Samwu.
The municipality seeking an exemption for proposed pay increases has plunged the City into disarray for more than a month due to striking employees who are demanding a 5.4% increase.
The exemption application was heard by senior commissioner Eleanor Hambidge yesterday, who requested 24 hours to rule on the matter.
She further said that if Samwu’s application was dismissed, parties would have to reconvene for engagements on merits on August 30.
The metro’s chief of staff, Jordan Griffiths, confirmed to the Pretoria News that the meeting would continue on this date to give time for the new arguments to be processed.
“The meeting will continue at a later stage because Samwu’s lawyers introduced new arguments even when the City’s arguments were submitted in the beginning of August,” Griffiths said.
He did not divulge to this publication what the arguments were.
More than 100 employees have since been issued with letters of termination by the City management for taking part in the unlawful strike action.
City manager Johann Mettler has accused the striking workers affiliated to Samwu of violence and intimidation and the union of failing to control its members, while Mayor Cilliers Brink called for the union to further engage their members earnestly to return to work.
The Pretoria News reported on Monday that the DA in the region was accusing the striking workers of, among other allegations, sabotage, conspiracy to kidnap and intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
In a memo to shop stewards, seen by this newspaper, However, Samwu blames the City for failing to implement the last leg of the wage and salary collective agreement.
In the memo, Samwu provincial secretary Mpho Tladinyane said: “It is unfortunate the City failed to implement the order and instead filed an exemption application.
“Members are informed that the application was months late, noting that the City had known their intention not to pay since March this year.”
Tladinyane said the union argued that in 2021, the City of Tshwane submitted its exemption application late – the City’s application is defective because it does not contain all prescribed documents and that the application by the City was not in compliance with the wage and salary collective agreement.
“Having raised the above issues, Samwu appealed to the senior commissioner to dismiss the City’s exemption application,” Tladinyane said.