The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the George Local Municipality, in the Western Cape, will be embarking on strike action following the reluctance by the employer to address long outstanding unresolved grievances submitted in April 2018 and April 2020.
SAMWU believes that the management has negotiated in bad faith after several attempts by the union to find amicable solutions through the Local Labour Forum (LLF) engagements between organized labour (SAMWU and IMATU).
We were hoping that the payment Covid-19 Compensation would have been finalized by end of May 2021 since these negotiations have been ongoing since last year April 2020 as per the LLF TASK Team undertaking from March 2021.
Amongst the issues that the union will be embarking on this strike are the following:
o Payment of Covid-19 Compensation.
o Unilateral Restructuring by the employer without proper consultation.
o Temporal Staff and EPWP Employees that are exploited daily by George Municipality.
o TASK Job Evaluations that are favouring only a few.
o Occupational Health and Safety that is not taken seriously by the employer putting the lives of employees at risk.
o Recruitment and Selection processes that are deviating from the policy, encompassed by elements of favoritism, nepotism, unfair labour practices, and non-compliance with the EE targets.
o Disciplinary processes that are targeting SAMWU shop stewards and lower-level staff, whilst children of White DA Councilors are protected when confronted with allegations of serious misconduct.
o Local Labour Forum (LLF) meetings that are not functioning properly and only convened as a tool to comply with the Main Collective Agreement for reporting but fail to address administrative challenges faced by workers.
TASK Job Evaluations as a virus in the Local Government Sector is aimed at face value by associating certain key positions with favourite employees from middle & top management. The newly proposed structure does not address the outsourcing of core functions in the organization especially on the work done by contractors.
The current confusing structure has failed to address some of the core challenges of the directorates to better service delivery (for example, more job opportunities for effective and efficient service delivery). The continuous changes/amendments to the current structure have demoralized the staff morale due to corrupt elements that are linked to the TASK job evaluations.
Some of these discrepancies and irregularities took place since the introduction of the TASK system in 2004 where selective job evaluations took place since the implementation in 2008, and selected individuals benefitted (namely, Electro-technical Directorate, Human Resources, Legal Services, and Compliance section, Assets, Creditors & Remuneration Section in the Finance Directorate, Human Settlement & Planning, etcetera) and are still to benefit unfairly.
This is pointing out that once the new proposed structure is finalized and approved again, a selected few will benefit whilst the majority will be hung out to dry. It is evident to SAMWU that the process of TASK Job Evaluation is being manipulated by the Human Resource Management, Directors, Senior Managers, and Mangers in the George Municipality by looking at face value to benefit handful employees who are their favourites.
The TASK system is used as an elevation tool into higher newly created positions without following the Recruitment & Selection process to bypass the Minimum Requirements of these posts. Failure by the George Municipality (specifically the Human Resource Section) to correctly align the job T-grades of the DMA since their transfer and incorporation to George Municipality.
Selective job evaluations were done of the DMA Town Manager and his favourites of which he is now intentionally delaying the alignment process and job evaluations of the majority workforce. There is still a lack of transparency when it comes to TASK job evaluation and incompetent staff is dealing with this matter increasing the challenges and conflict pertaining to TASK.
Health and Safety issues are never taken seriously and are always on the back burner of the agenda. H&S Reps and workers at the plant level are not given an opportunity to participate in H&S Committees, and management takes a unilateral decision on workers’ H&S issues including issuing of PPE. The OHS Committee is not functional because the employer dictates terms as far as this committee is concerned by not making it an inclusive forum for all stakeholders to that effect.
All EPWP workers that are occupying vacant positions are not considered for permanency and are exploited to perform the functions of a permanent employee whilst given slavery wages. At times, the Councilors are politicizing the appointment of EPWP workers without following a fair process to afford unemployed community workers a fair opportunity and exploiting the situation as a political football.
Lastly, SAMWU is demanding the following from the Employer (George Municipality):
- The payment of a Covid-19 Compensation for workers immediately before the 30th of June 2021.
- Decent jobs for all by employing/absorbing temporal staff and EPWP employees who are performing functions of vacant positions on the Organogram structure.
- That the employer refrains from targeting lower-level staff and shop stewards. Adherence to the Recruitment and Selection Policy that is fair, transparent, and consistent with addressing EE targets.
- Alignment of TASK T-grades of the DMA with that of the George Municipality and the 14th Cheque to all workers from T3 – T13.
Issued by SAMWU Western Cape
John Mcanjana, Provincial Secretary (073 644 9580)
Mfundo Mtamo, George Local Chairperson (078 359 0920)
Peter Africa, Provincial Organizer, (065 005 1188)