SAMWU welcomes dismissal of City of Cape Town exemption application.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the decision by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) to dismiss the exemption application by the City of Cape Town. The City of Cape Town had applied to be exempted from the recently concluded salary and wage collective agreement, denying workers their salary increases as per the collective agreement. From the onset, the City of Cape Town sought to deny municipal workers salary increases this year, going as far as preempting the negotiations by arguing that parties in the SALGBC should negotiate a zero % salary increase for municipal workers.
We are pleased to announced that following their exemption application, an arbitration process was conducted by parties in the SALGBC with the Arbitrator reaching a conclusion of declining the application by the City and further instructing the City to pay workers their salary and wage increases as per the collective agreement backdated to July 2021.
The decision by the Arbitrator to decline the City’s application is a huge victory for the 30 000 workers who are in the employ of the City of Cape Town. Workers in the City have been subjected to the ruthlessness of the employer who sought to collapse collective bargaining in the sector, an employer that sought to define itself outside of the employer body, the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGA).
More importantly, this ruling should serve as a warning to other municipalities who are bringing frivolous applications to the SALGBC pleading poverty whereas they know very well that they are in a position to pay workers their salary increases. Seemingly municipalities are on a crusade of undermining collective agreements that are reached in the SALGBC, a crusade which we view as a direct attack on workers and collective bargaining.
We cannot allow a situation wherein municipalities use the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason why they cannot honour the salary and wage collective agreement. Municipal workers have also been affected by the pandemic. In fact, municipalities have during the pandemic been able to increase revenue collection during and as such there is no logical or rational explanation as to why municipal workers should be denied their salary and wage increases apart from the evident desire to undermine collective agreements.
Municipal workers, like all South Africans have endured economic hardships that have come with the increase in the cost of living. As SAMWU, we will continue opposing all exemption applications, municipalities should stop wasting resources by making frivolous applications which would ultimately lead to a demoralised workforce and ultimately impact service delivery as workers will not be motivated. We are a union in the process of applying for compliance orders against all municipalities that have not yet paid workers their salary and wage increases.
We thank our members in the City of Cape Town for allowing us to deal with this application, this should be motivation enough to workers in other municipalities that through the work that we are currently doing, they too will realise the implementation of the salary and wage collective agreement in their respective municipalities.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Dumisane Magagula, General Secretary (079 580 4029), John Mcanjana, Western Cape Provincial Secretary, 073 644 9580 or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356).