The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) today appeared as a responded in the Labour Court, Johannesburg following attempts by the employer, Rand Water intended interdicting the protected strike that the union had embarked on.
SAMWU took a painful decision to embark on a protracted indefinite protected strike after the employer unilaterally changed the conditions of service of workers, in particular withdrawing incentive bonuses which workers had been receiving for the last 17 years.
Following several engagements by the union to meet with employer to withdraw the circular which stoped the incentive bonuses, essentially changing the conditions of service for workers, the employer shown arrogance and never wanted to commit to an amicable solution to this problem.
In the Labour Court proceedings today, the Judge lambasted the employer for failing to meet with the union to solve this issue as a matter of urgency. The Judge further urges parties to meet and come up with a settlement agreement.
As per the settlement agreement which had become an order of the court, the employer has agreed to withdraw the memorandum which unilaterally changed the conditions of workers. As a union, we have as a sign of good faith also postponed our strike until the 28th April 2021.
Our postponement of the strike is to allow the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) arbitrate on the matter set down for the 28th We remain optimistic that the CCMA will rule in favour of the union.
As SAMWU, we want the employer to immediately attend to this issue in the interest of our members. Today’s demonstration was merely a warning shot should the employer fail in meeting our demands.
In the interests of ensuring continued and uninterrupted water services to residents served by Rand Water, we remain open to further engagements with the employer.
If the employer fails to agree to the demands of workers, we unfortunately cannot guarantee that residents and industries that are served by Rand Water in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West will have running water.
All we can do is pray and hope for rain as that will be the only source of water that will be available in those areas.
We lastly thank our members for coming out in their numbers to defend their conditions of service. We further urge them to be prepared and combat ready especially as we approach salary and wage negotiations in the Amanzi Bargaining Council which Rand Water is party to.
Issued by SAMWU Gauteng Province
Bafana Zungu, Provincial Secretary, (079 298 5577), Mamorena Madisha, Deputy Provincial Secretary ( 083 539 5494) or Rhau Mohahlele, Regional Secretary (067 888 8366)