The Congress of South African Trade Unions denounces the threats by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to interdict municipal workers and stop them from participating in the imminent strike in the Municipal sector. The federation views this as an arrogant attack on collective bargaining and worker’s right to strike.
The attempt to unilaterally declare municipal workers an essential service when they are being treated like glorified slaves is absurd and illogical. This is a blatant attack on collective bargaining and the federation will not allow for this travesty to go unchallenged.
If SALGA wants to avert a possible strike, then the right thing to do is to abandon their inflexible attitude that they have adopted during this round of wage negotiations. This inane attempt to legally browbeat workers into submission will not work. Employers need to submit a new offer to the workers that will break the current impasse.
The dismissive and provocative approach adopted by SALGA is unsurprising though because for government bureaucrats’ outcomes mean nothing. They are indifferent to the damage that their reckless decisions have on the citizens. SALGA continues to mismanage the wage negotiations without thinking about the results of their negligence and a possible strike.
The same municipalities that SALGA represents are sinking under the weight of malfeasance and many of them are struggling to deliver much needed services to the people. At the same time SALGA pretends that a strike is not a big deal.
Workers are not responsible for the financial problems facing the municipalities and they are not going to scapegoated by the SALGA. They are not the responsible for many of these municipalities failing to account accurately for the financial transactions they have carried out and the money entrusted to them. These municipalities have failed to stem the tide of corruption and manipulation of tenders and procurement of goods and services.
We are fully behind our affiliated union SAMWU, and we call on our members to across all the economic sectors to offer full support and solidarity to the municipal workers.
Workers need to unite in pushing back against this attempt by SALGA to dismantle and undermine collective bargaining. The only way to undo an arrogant and unaccountable system of power is through disruption, non-cooperation, and obstruction.
A sustained strike action is one of the most visible and effective acts of civil disobedience. If workers sit down and do nothing, they accept the death sentence that is handed to them by the political and business power structure.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794