1. We, the members of SAMWU representing more than 63 000 workers and community members of Gauteng, hereby note that:
1.1 The ongoing socio-economic challenges in South Africa and the globe, has the communities we serve confronted with continuous lack of basic needs.
1.2 The gap between rich and poor widens more and more with the poorer communities forced to carry the heavier load, yet we are all facing current global pandemics.
1.3 Our members serve in the main the poorest of the poor. We see and live the poverty and inequality. We work in communities where unemployment is the highest.
1.4 Being a union that leads in society, we now have to utilize our timeand energy to remind the developmental, democratic government to give effect to the fundamentals of our National Democratic Revolution.
2. Secondly, we wish to remind you that our rights as workers and the rights of the communities are not a privilege but a right indeed. We are therefore not here to ask for any privileges. We are here to demand the realization of the objectives and goals of our struggle, for which we fought with blood, sweat and tears!
2.1 Be reminded: We are workers with human rights. Our rights as workers are guaranteed in Section 23 of the Constitution. Our rights are there to give meaning and effect to the freedoms fought for as in the Freedom Charter. Therefore, thepersistent violation of our rights by Treasury Department through their interference in the Collective Bargainingnegotiations are regressive, counterproductive moves on the side of the employer (capitalist), is a direct affront to the rights of the workers in the municipalities specifically, and community members generally.
2.2 We are here to demand no less than the real and immediate opening of the negotiations in good faith at the SALGBC table.
2.3 We are here, as frustration has built up to an explosive boiling point at the persistent failure of the Treasury Department and South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to attend to pressing matters in the municipalities (South African Local Government Bargaining Council) and Water Sector (Amanzi Collective Bargaining Council).
3. We are starkly aware that salary and wages negotiations at the Collective Bargaining Council, sat three times already. Yet SALGA has not moved or tabled any reasonable offer to the union for the workers. Is Treasury Department’s interference at play here? Or are you as SALGA misinforming them? What about the financial effects that corruption is having on the Local Government purse? Or will you continue to be silent on these factors as the real issues creating the purse with holes for Local Government?
3.1 These are the questions we are demanding answers to as workers, and as community members!
4. We are here to remind you, the very ANC led Government, that we will invoke our bargaining power as citizens and workers, if your tactics to reverse gains made by our democracy continues. Bereminded: that based on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 – chapter 2: Bill of Rights. We are the ones whoprovide services, which is their right, to the society:
4.1 Be reminded: This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality, and freedom.
4.2 Be reminded: The state must respect, protect, promote, and fulfill the rights in the Bill of Rights.
4.3 Be reminded: Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.
4.4 Be reminded: Every worker has the right to participate in the activities and programmes of the trade union; and the right to strike.
5. Know that your counterproductive tactics has brought us here today!
5.1 We should and would not be here today if you respected workers rights.
5.2 We would not be here today if you didn’t threaten to take awayour gains made through collective bargaining.
5.3 We would not be here today if you gave us all the bank statements of the municipalities to see checks and balances.
5.4 We would not be here today if you were stopping corruptionshonestly.
5.5 We would not be here today if the poor and working class received quality renumerations.
5.6 We would not be here today if enough resources are put into the communities, particular for the poor and working class.
6. Let it not be said that as labour we have not exhausted all internal avenues in raising matters and attempting to provide the solutions to the workplaces at municipal level. The records will show, that
6.1 We have over many years interacted with various MunicipalMayors and Municipal Managers to address some of the persistent problems in municipalities covering both the conditions of services and other pertinent issues e.g tools of trade and allowances.
6.2 We have Local Labour Forums (LLF) as enshrined in our Main Collective Bargaining Agreement (MCA), meant to deal with finding solutions between labour and the employer representatives through councillors.
6.3 These LLF’s has just become a mockery in that it does not conclude its agenda and matters keep on getting differed to the next LLF with subsequent results of no resolutions made or implemented.
6.4 We have been promised that outstanding anomalies would be addressed.
6.5 We have been promised that municipalities’ infrastructure would be improved.
6.6 We have been promised that more resources would be availed in municipalities.
6.7 We have been promised that conditions of services and other collective bargaining matters will be resolved.
6.8 None of these have materialized over the years!
7. We keep being reminded of the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan. Recently, we heard more about the so-called Radical Economical Transformation. As people who serve the poor and the working class we can no longer wait and believe in slogans of convenience. We are here to demand radical salary and wage increment.
8. As the progressive trade union, we shall never apologize for standing up for the poor and working class!
8.1 We shall never apologize in asserting the constitutional rights of workers.
8.2 We shall never apologize for demanding a better transformed local government for communities and workers.
8.3 We were established for this purpose and can never betray the mission of our existence.
9. We are here today as a matter of right and fully exercising our constitutional right to protest the behavior of this sluggish SALGAwhich appears oblivious to the deepening levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
9.1 We are here to remind the African National Congress (ANC) administration of its immediate task to give effect to municipality workers’ decent increase.
10. More than anything, we demand benchmarking to be paid to all municipal workers in Gauteng before local government elections happens.
11. SALGBC negotiations are continuing on the 3rd and 4th of June 2021 in Durban. We demand the following to happen:
11.1 SALGA must send its executive delegations, people with authority to take decisions.
11.2 National Treasury must stop interference in our space by ill advising SALGA.
11.3 SALGA must stop bringing percentage but talk of money (how much are you giving and why).
11.4 We demand decent housing allowance.
11.5 We demand growth in medical schemes contribution by the employer.
11.6 We demand exemption of municipal workers on municipalservices i.e rates and taxes increases that are being presented in municipalities.
11.7 EPWP and CWP workers must be permanently employed as they work within fully funded positions within the municipalities.
11.8 SALGA must play a crucial and evident role in eradicating corruptions in the municipalities.
We are of the view that as a union the failure by the SALGA to address above listed issues would have a negative effect on the much-desired service delivery in the communities.
NB: The President and Chief Executive Officer of SALGA needs to note that within 24 hours of no positive action, SAMWU shall be continuing to plan for a massive national action.
Issued by SAMWU SAMWU Gauteng Province
Deputy Provincial Secretary