SAMWU welcomes decision by City of Cape Town to pay workers’ salary increases

SAMWU welcomes decision by City of Cape Town to pay workers’ salary increases.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the decision by the City of Cape Town to fully implement the salary and wage agreement that was signed in September 2021 by parties in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC). The decision by the City to pay workers their increases comes after the City lost its exemption application in the SALGBC Exemption Committee, with the latter ruling that the City has sound financial resources to fulfil the agreement.

In a letter to unions, the City has communicated that it will not be appealing the ruling of the SALGBC Exemption Committee and instead paying workers their salary increases backdated to July 2021. The City has further indicated that the once-off lump-sum payment that formed part of the agreement will be paid along with workers’ December salaries.

As SAMWU, we welcome the decision to fully implement the salary and wage collective agreement as concluded in the SALGBC. Although this payment will come four months after the City’s employees were due to receive their increases, the implementation of the agreement will go a long way in alleviating the burden and financial hardship that municipal workers have endured for the past months.

When we welcomed the decision of the SALGBC Exemption Committee to dismiss the City’s application we indicated that the failure by the City to implement the agreement will result in a demoralised workforce, create labour instability and that workers will continue falling to catch up with the forever rising cost of living. More importantly, we indicated that the City’s application was frivolous and nothing but an attempt by the City to deny workers their salary and wage increases.

We are however pleased that the City has finally come to its senses and realised that it can no longer use the Covid-19 pandemic as a scapegoat and that workers’ salary increases should be paid as the agreement is legally binding to the City as an employer. We thank our members in the City of Cape Town for giving us an opportunity to defend their interests.

As we have previously said, the ruling to dismiss the application by the City should serve as a warning to other municipalities that seek to attack collective bargaining and undermine collective agreements. We will continue opposing all applications that are brought to the SALGBC Exemptions Committee as we are of the view that no municipality has a legal basis to apply to be exempted from this collective agreement. Moreover, legal work is at advanced stages to ensure that municipalities that have not applied for exemption but failed to implement the agreement are forced to comply with the agreement.

We further urge the newly constituted Councils that they should as a matter of urgently convene Council meetings to make a resolution on the implementation of this agreement. Municipal workers have suffered long enough, no carrying employer should allow their employees to linger in hunger and starvation, particularly as we are approaching Christmas season. Carrying and sympathetic employers will not allow their employees to have black Christmas!

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Dumisane Magagula, General Secretary, 076 580 4029, John Mcanjane, Western Cape Provincial Secretary 073 644 9580 or Mikel Khumalo, Cape Metro Regional Secretary 083 265 1519.