After a week of disruption and chaos, things are expected to return to normal in the City of Tshwane after the city’s workers accepted an ex gratia payment to stop the protest, instead of the 18% increase they were demanding.
The workers brought the city to a standstill last week, marching through the streets, causing major traffic disruption.
They demanded an 18% increase on the grounds that this was allegedly paid to the city’s top managers.
According to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), the strike was a result of the City of Tshwane’s decisions to upgrade salaries of top executives by 18%, dating back to 2017.
Lower-level employees were left out.
The city had been upgraded in ranking from a category 9 to 10 municipality.
The union’s general secretary Koena Ramotlou said: “The city had committed that they would be seeking a mandate on the presented framework that Samwu has presented and indeed the city has honoured their commitment and an agreement has been reached for an amicable solution to the current impasse between the city and the workers.”
The union said the negotiated agreement stipulated that workers that earn less than R20 000 a month would receive a once-off payment of R15,000 and workers who earn R20,001 to R30 000 a month would get a once-off payment of R10,000.
Workers earning more than R30,000 a month would be paid a once-off payment of R7,000.
“The 18% salary increase that has been implemented for the group and divisional heads will be dismantled with immediate effect,” said Ramotlou.
He said in the next two months, a dedicated task team would conduct a benchmarking exercise on the pay scales of other metro municipalities, in order to develop a pay scale for the City of Tshwane.
According to the City of Tshwane’s mayoral spokesperson, Omogolo Taunyane, the reason top management got the increase was that they agreed to forfeit benefits, such as medical aid, pension funds, housing benefits and 13th cheques.
She said the senior members’ packages allowed for restructuring, especially after the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs recategorised the city from category nine to 10.
“That would entail an increase, but it was 18% only because their benefits were forfeited,” Taunyane said.
Samwu’s Tshwane chairperson Mpho Tladinyane said there could not be a situation where top managers paid themselves exorbitant amounts while the struggling majority were being taken for granted.