COSATU KZN and SAWMU score a significant victory as 121 Ugu Municipal Employees are reinstated

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Province of KwaZulu Natal is elated and heartened following another successful development that saw the reinstatement of about 121 Ugu Municipal workers.

These Ugu municipal workers were dismissed around March 2020 after they objected to an unfair dismissal of their union Shop Stewards. These workers argued that these Shop Stewards were being victimised for speaking out against alleged maladministration and corruption in the council.

Since then, the Federation working with its affiliated trade union SAMWU has been at the forefront of the efforts to ensure their reinstatement. We have always argued that this matter could have been better handled by those in authority. We are excited that our campaign for their reinstatement has now yielded positive outcomes.

These workers are back at work this week, yesterday (1 November 2022). These Ugu employees have been reinstated with a twelve (12) months backpay, and all parties have agreed to continue negotiating regarding the issue of update of pension benefits.

This follows another victory for the federation and SAMWU that saw it successfully negotiate the reinstatement of 223 Newcastle municipal workers that were dismissed.

The Federation is implementing the outcomes of the 14th National Congress that resolved that we must remain grounded on the traditions of strong shop floor organisation and militant struggles for worker rights.

We are busy reviewing the effectiveness of our existing organisational machinery at all levels, with a view of establishing the kind of organisational engines and capacity of cadres that would be best positioned to meet the tasks of the pillar of Organisational Building and Development Programme.

We salute the Moses Mabhida South African Communist Party for being a reliable ally in the fight for justice for these workers. We also commend the Lower South Coast Region of the ANC for providing support to workers and COSATU.                                                  

We further wish to congratulate our union, SAMWU for continuing to stand firm behind its members. The support from the public, our communities and families was invaluable. This speaks to what our congress said that we need to ensure that we incorporate broader social issues into our programme and build alliances with community organisations. Our founding principle that “An injury to one, is an injury to all” remains true today as it was 36 years ago.

We will continue to work with our unions to improve our service to our members and create fair and just workplaces where worker’s rights are respected.

We urge our members to also prioritise service delivery to the poor communities that rely on them for their survival.

COSATU will work together with SAMWU to ensure that workers issues are professionally and better handled by management of municipalities.

Issued by COSATU KZN

KZN Provincial Secretary

Edwin Mkhize

082 399 7756