10 August 2023
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Gauteng demands that the the City of Tshwane end its shameful attacks on its municipal employees. The behaviour of the City is in direct violation of the Labour Relations and the Basic Conditions of Employment Acts and needs to be nipped in the bud.
Tshwane has reneged on two years’ collective agreements signed by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and Organised Labour led by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) at the SALGA Bargaining Council. This reckless behaviour has seen municipal employees denied their 2021 (3.5%) and 2023 (5.9%) increases that would have helped protect their already meagre wages from record high levels of inflation, enable to take care of their families and pay their loans.
Instead of engaging unions and workers on this crisis, the Municipality has embarked upon a victimisation campaign against staff who are naturally aggrieved at being pickpocketed by their employer. Over 50 staff have now been reported to have been fired and countless others served with letters threatening them with dismissal.
The irony is that the Municipality is said to be sitting on billions of reserves. If left unchecked this threatens labour market stability not only in Tshwane Municipality but across the entire local government sector if allowed to continue and other delinquent municipalities follow suit. This is a ticking time bomb that society cannot afford when communities are already desperate for basic services.
COSATU supports the intervention by its dedicated Affiliate, SAMWU, and the CCMA to resolve this matter in a sober manner. The Municipality needs to get off its horse and negotiate in good faith to resolve this manner and honour its legally binding signed agreements with its staff. Municipal workers have the right to expect to be paid a living wage and to protect their paltry wages from being further decimated by inflation. The municipality too needs to realise that key to turning the City around is to build a healthy relationship with its employees. Treating them like glorified slaves will only result in further labour market instability.
SALGA and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs have been deafeningly silent as usual whilst municipal employees are abused by their employers. Its time they showed some moral fortitude and stand up for the rights of traffic officers, cleaners, refuse collectors, electricians and other municipal workers.
Issued by COSATU Gauteng
Provincial Secretary – Louisa Modikwe: 066 182 2402
Provincial Chairperson – Amos Monyela: 079 493 5002