File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Victory for City of Tshwane workers in pay dispute

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Jul 2, 2019

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Pretoria - Nearly four years of fighting for their wages eventually paid off for several employees of the City of Tshwane, who heard that they would eventually receive their long-awaited shift allowances.

The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria ordered that the city was liable to pay its employees who work in various depots in the energy and electricity departments their shift allowances dating back to 2015.

The city was given 10 days from last Thursday to determine how much was due to the workers, and they immediately thereafter had to pay them the money.

Acting Judge Urmila Bhoola directed that the city had to continue to pay the shift allowance every month to each of its workers eligible for this allowance.

The workers, members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union, said they turned to court with the help of their union following years of fruitless negotiations with the city.

They lodged their first grievance against the city in 2015, complaining that there were inconsistencies within the city as some workers were paid allowances, while others were not.

This was followed by a number of other meetings, including with the human resources department, the city manager’s office and many other high-ranking officials, but nothing was resolved.

The workers, in desperation, referred the dispute to the South African Local Government Bargaining Council, which said it had no jurisdiction.

They then turned to the high court where the defence of the city was that the matter was in the hands of the labour court and that this court thus could not interfere.

But Judge Bhoola said the City was wrong, as neither the labour court nor the bargaining council had determined the dispute.

She said the city presented no facts to the court as to why it did not pay its employees. 

The judge said the city simply gave a bare denial of any wrongdoing. The only fact stated by the city was that the official who during the dispute process agreed that the workers should receive their shift payments had acted out of line and did not have the power to make such a decision.

She concluded that these workers were entitled to their money.

Pretoria News

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