The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said on Tuesday that a settlement agreement reached between eThekwini Municipality and trade unions regarding a wildcat strike earlier this month rewarded protesters and punished residents.
But the civil action group also said it welcomed a commitment by eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, that an independent investigation be initiated into the strike action.
At an executive committee (EXCO) meeting on Tuesday, Gumede said: “heads will roll from those who did wrong to this city”, referring to the illegal strike action, which saw municipal infrastructure intentionally damaged and basic services severely disrupted. Several assaults were also reported.
The protests started when city employees accused the administration of circumventing its own recruitment processes to fast-track the appointment of selected groups.
Gumede further told EXCO that the city “can’t become a banana republic city” and that residents were entitled to know what led to the strike.
But OUTA eThekwini spokesman, Jonathan Erasmus, said that a decision to waive the “no work, no pay” principle – one of the settlement agreements reached between the city and municipal unions – was “a terrible decision that rewarded criminality”.
Another one of the settlement agreements reached was that employees could apply to regrade their posts in terms of the Jobs Evaluation Policy.
“Much more information is needed before any regrading process occurs. This would include how many staff could be affected, the administrative motivation for the regrading, as well as the cost implications for the city,” said Erasmus.
He said it was likely that the regrading process was unbudgeted and, if implemented, would see resources diverted from key areas such as repairs and maintenance.
“The city must investigate the wildcat strike action and continue with disciplinary action. The strike put residents’ health, safety and well-being in serious jeopardy,” said Erasmus.
– African News Agency (ANA)