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WATCH: Thousands of municipal workers take to Tshwane streets in stand-off over salary deal

Published Oct 21, 2021


Pretoria - Thousands of municipal workers in Tshwane took to the street following a stand-off between the regional SA Municipal Workers (Samwu) and the municipality over the implementation of salary increments and the once-off payments linked to the benchmarking collective agreement.

The benchmarking agreement was reached between the two parties at the bargaining council three years ago to adjust salaries of workers in line with a category 10 status acquired by the municipality in 2017.

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Back then the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs adjusted the City from category 9 status to category 10, but the salaries of workers were not adjusted accordingly.

Workers also took issue with the fact that the municipality had decided to reduce the Tshwane Group Life benefits on the basis that they were unaffordable.

They vowed to protest until the municipality had provided them with a positive feedback that would address their financial demands.

In expressing their anger and frustration with the municipality, workers emptied the dustbins in the middle of the roads and littered the streets with rubbish.

Traffic was hugely disrupted by the demonstrators, who marched along Madiba and Pretorius streets.

They chanted Struggle songs and held up placards bearing messages denouncing the stance by the City and calling for the implementation of salary increases with immediate effect.

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Others used the wheelie-bins to push each other during the demonstration.

In a memo sent out to workers on Tuesday, the union said it would give feedback during a "family meeting", which would touch on annual once-off payments, reduction of Tshwane Group Life benefits and implementation of wage and salary agreement.

However, the gathering degenerated into a chaotic protest with workers venting out their anger at the municipality.

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Samwu regional chairperson Nkhetheni Muthavhi said the issues raised by the workers were expected to be addressed during a mayoral committee (Mayco) meeting which took place yesterday.

However, he said, none of the issues were addressed during the meeting led by mayor Randall Williams.

Muthavhi said: "We have written to them and they said they will go to their Mayco. They went to their Mayco yesterday and they didn't resolve all the matters that we have raised with them. That is why we are on the street. We will be on the street until such time they pay. They made a commitment to pay."

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He said workers were angered by the fact that the municipality wanted to reduce its contribution towards the Tshwane Group Life benefits.

Muthavhi said the group life benefits have four categories, which include a contribution of R40 000 for a funeral service of a deceased municipal employee and a one year salary paid to his or her family.

He said the municipality was challenging payments related to benchmarking monies on the basis that the City can't afford them.

Addressing the workers, union regional secretary, Mpho Tladinyane said the City indicated that it wanted to renege on the once-off payments in line with the benchmarking collective agreement.

"We don't agree with that based on the mandate you gave to us that we don't renegotiate collect agreements. We want implementation and we are not prepared to engage on that."

City's head of labour relations, Ronald Oppelt, received a memorandum on behalf of the municipality and promised to look into the workers' demands.

Pretoria News