The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has noted the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to extend lockdown by a further 14 days in a bid reduce the transmission of the Coronovirus. Coupled with the extension announcement was that the President, his deputy, ministers and their deputies would be taking a 33% salary cut for three months.
Following the salary cut announcement, we noted a statement by City of Ekurhuleni Cllr Mayor Mzwandile Masina that he along with the City Manager, Mayoral Committee members, Group Chief Financial Officer and other Political Office Bearers would also be taking a salary cut. The Mayor further said that there are discussions that workers would have their salaries cut by 5% for the coming three months.
We place it on record that our members and municipal workers in general would not be participating in this salary cut challenge. We further place it on record that there are no discussions between unions and the City on workers participating in this challenge, if anything the statement by the Mayor seeks not only to demoralize the municipal workers but also to drive a wedge between the union and its members.
Although we sympathize and see the need for more resources to be channeled towards Coronavirus response efforts, such responses cannot be done at the expense of pickpocketing municipal workers on their hard-earned money, money which is not even enough to cover their basic needs as they are not paid decent wages.
Municipal workers are at the bottom of the food chain, they simply do not have money laying around unlike politicians. We will therefore leave this challenge to politicians as we are not prepared and will not subsidize operations of employers.
Municipalities should be talking about;
· Remuneration of workers who are in the frontline, ensuring that South Africans are safe, healthy and that there is continuation of services delivery.
· Payments of overtime that workers have put in outside of their normal working hours.
We therefore urge all of the country’s 254 municipalities and their entities to not even dare and include municipal workers as participants in this challenge of theirs.
Forcing municipal workers to take a salary cut would be a declaration of war, a war that municipal workers are prepared and well-oiled to fight to the bitter end.
We therefore expect municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full, including their benefits in line with their conditions of service.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Koena Ramotlou, General Secretary (073 254 9394), Dumisane Magagula, Deputy General Secretary (084 806 4005) or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356)