Tshwane workers affiliated to Samwu who took part in ‘illegal, unprotected’ strike face axe

City of Tshwane workers affiliated to Samwu have been on strike over the past week demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

City of Tshwane workers affiliated to Samwu have been on strike over the past week demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 7, 2023


More than 40 City of Tshwane employees, who took part in an “illegal” and “unprotected” strike, could lose their jobs.

The workers, affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), have been on strike over the non-payment of salary increases.

They have been demanding a 5.4 percent increase.

Last week the strike was deemed illegal and unprotected by the Labour Court, after city manager Johann Mettler applied for an interdict, which means Mettler has grounds to discipline those who took part.

Now the City has issued letters of intention to dismiss workers who took part in the strike.

Mettler said a total of about 15 employees were arrested and charged with public violence, but also faced internal charges.

“All my efforts to end the strike were disregarded, and the continuous strike action is in contempt of the court interdict,” Mettler said.

The City also confirmed it would approach the Labour Court for an urgent contempt of court order against those who took part in the unlawful protest.

“The city manager has issued multiple ultimatums to the striking employees to return to work and to desist from intimidating their non-striking colleagues. The striking employees have disregarded the court order and therefore are guilty of contempt of court.”

On Thursday the City resolved to approach the Labour Court again for the enforcement of the interim interdict, which will empower the police to arrest the striking employees and the Samwu leadership.

“Residents of Tshwane cannot be held to ransom by striking employees who continue to prevent their colleagues from performing the duties for which they get paid. Most employees report for duty but are being prevented, intimidated and victimised by their striking colleagues from executing their duties,” Mettler said.

Meanwhile, the City’s MMC for Community Safety, Grandi Theunissen, has reportedly praised municipal essential workers who continued with their duties during the strike.

“Some emergency services and metro police officials continued to work while their colleagues continued with an unlawful strike closing some fire stations.

“Our brave firefighters have remained on duty and relocated their resources to other stations to ensure their availability and response to emergencies.

“Many Tshwane metro police department members have been asked to square off with their striking City of Tshwane colleagues to keep service delivery going, albeit at a slower pace. They have often been asked to protect working colleagues, their vehicles, tools and offices,” Theunissen said.

He said it was not an easy task for officers to continue with their work while their colleagues were on strike as it was risky.

“I acknowledge the dedication with which many of them put themselves at risks.

“Both departments have been instrumental in ensuring the City continues to deliver services during this difficult period. They have escorted teams as they deliver services by providing security and they have also attended protest action in an effort to protect City assets,” said Theunissen.

Pretoria News