The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has learnt with great anger and agitation of a memorandum which was distributed by Sedibeng Water informing workers that their salaries will not be paid on the 20th of this month as per the contract of employment entered into between Sedibeng Water and its employees.
Sedibeng Water, a bulk water supplier to municipalities in the Free State, Northwest and Northern Cape Provinces claims that it is unable to pay workers’ salaries on time as a result of the failures by its clients being municipalities to pay for the services that it has rendered to them.
This notification of late payment of salaries comes after the municipality had earlier this month written to workers informing them that it will not be paying their salary increases as per the recently concluded salary and wage agreement in the Amanzi Bargaining Council (ABC) which Sedibeng Water is a party to.
Sedibeng Water has proven itself to be an uncaring employer by giving workers only a day’s notice of the delay in salary payments, yet it expects the same employees who will be hungry and without transport money to report for duty while they have not been paid their salaries.
As SAMWU, we are convinced that Sedibeng Water is deliberately creating confusion and panic amongst workers as justification for their intention to not honouring the salary and wage collective agreement which they formed part and parcel from the negotiations and ultimately the signing of the collective agreement.
We therefore support the cause of action that has been taken by workers at Sedibeng water in the three provinces to stop working until their salaries are paid along with the increases as agreed in the Bargaining Council. The employer cannot conveniently fail to pay workers their salaries as a means to justify their intention to renege on the salary and wage collective agreement.
No responsible employer can allow its employees to go home without salaries and more worryingly deny its employees their salary and wage increases. Workers should unite and defend collective bargaining and the gains that have been made in the Amanzi Bargaining Council otherwise they will be reversed by employers such as Sedibeng Water.
The delay in payment of salaries coupled with the intention to deny them their salaries and wage increases is nothing but a provocation of workers and workers will, as they have responded to the provocation decisively!
We therefore demand the immediate payment of workers’ salaries along with the increases which is due to them. Workers at Sedibeng Water will continue with the work stoppage until this demand is met.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Dumisane Magagula, General Secretary (076 580 4029), Moila Mofokeng, Sedibeng Water Cluster Secretary (078 278 5569) or Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356)