Tshwane protest: Union wants workers to be paid by Friday

Members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) can be seen during a march to Tshwane House where they delivered their memorandum, 7 February 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The City had suggested that workers be paid the first tranche of the benchmarking money for the 2017/18 financial year, at the end of August 2020.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) in Tshwane said its members did not agree with time frames proposed by the City of Tshwane to pay the benchmarking money owed to them.

The earliest the City has been given to pay the first batch of money is Friday. It is unclear at this stage whether union members would go back on strike if the metro cannot meet this deadline.

Service delivery in Tshwane was affected when municipal workers downed tools almost three weeks ago, calling for the implementation of a 6.25% annual wage increase and implementation of a benchmarking agreement.

The City suggested that workers be paid the first tranche of the benchmarking money for the 2017/18 financial year, at the end of August 2020.

Payment for the 2018/19 financial year will be made before the end of 2020.

READ MORE: Tshwane, Johannesburg metros receive R4.5bn loan to improve service delivery

Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said the union consulted its members in various constituencies and has been since mandated to agree to the metro’s proposal, but on certain conditions.

“That we accept the one-year payment to be effected immediately latest by Friday, 14 August 2020. That all those who are covered by the collective agreement be paid.

“That the second payment be effected before end of December 2020; and that if efforts to realise savings by the end of August 2020 through the chief audit executive bear fruits, payments be made earlier than December 2020,” said Tladinyane.

He said their members have also mandated the union to come up with strategies on how they could assist the metro’s revenue enhancement and further identify and close “leakages in the system”, including corruption.

“We will, therefore, going forward fighting for re-municipalisation of services,” he said.

Tladinyane said the union “single-handedly fought hard to ensure that workers secured the best possible deal, considering the difficult economic situation we are currently facing”.

“This is the best deal we could achieve, especially when one looks at the challenges in other sectors in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the case against the three people arrested for public violence and malicious damage to Tshwane House municipal headquarters property has been postponed.

They appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court last week Thursday, for their alleged part in the damaging of Tshwane House in the Pretoria CBD last month.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said their case had been postponed until 19 October, after “a thorough prosecutorial-led investigation into recent acts of lawlessness at the Tshwane House municipal chambers”.

ALSO READ: ‘We are not on strike’ say workers as Tshwane’s service delivery collapses

She said police arrested a 39-year-old woman and two men, aged 39 and 44, for public violence and malicious damage to property.

Public order police were deployed on 21 July, to monitor the protest action in the Pretoria CBD as municipal workers went on a rampage, trashing Tshwane metro headquarters after wage talks collapsed.

This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.

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