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The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) will be intensifying its strike action at the uThukela District Municipality following the failure by municipal management and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in the province to hold talks with the union to resolve issues which resulted in workers embarking on this strike action.
Workers at the uThekela District Municipality whose jurisdiction incudes; the Alfred Duma, Inkosi Langa Libalele and Okhahlamba Local Municipalities downed tolls on 22 March 2023 following the municipality violating an agreement signed with the union that ended a strike action that the union embarked on in late December last year.
According to the December agreement, the municipality committed to ensuring that workers’ grievances which included cases management, the health and safety of employees in the workplace would be addressed and that no employee would be forced to go into a workplace that is unsafe.
All these issues were supposed to have been resolved by end of January 2023, however, due to the arrogance of the municipal management, none of the timeframes which were set between the union and management were met, as a result, the union invoked its right to resuscitate the December strike action effective 22 March 2023.
In a sign of disregard to sound labour relations within the municipality, management absconded meetings which they had called with the union on the 22, 23 and 28 March without giving the union any explanation. Instead, the municipality ran to the Courts to try and interdict the union and its members from exercising their rights as per the labour laws of the country. We are pleased that the Labour Court yesterday ruled against the municipality, confirming the rights of workers to embark on a protected strike action.
Since the municipal management have decided that they will not be meeting with workers to resolve these grievances, workers will therefore be intensifying their strike action until all demands raised are met. Workers are determined to continue until the following demands are met;
- All outstanding payments acknowledged by the employer to be paid by the 31st March 2023.
- All EPWP employees who have rendered services to the municipality should be paid immediately.
- All occupational health and safety issues should be addressed immediately.
- All employees who got injured on duty should continue being paid by the municipality until their COIDA claims are finalised.
- The Municipal Manager and all Section 56 managers should resign with immediate effect.
- The outsourced water tank tenders should be stopped immediately, the municipality should use its water tank fleet.
- All placement letters issued to employees should be implemented with immediate effect.
- The transfer of employees from Umgeni Water should be subjected to a transfer agreement reduced in writing.
- An end to the politicization of the working environment.
As SAMWU, we understand the consequence that come with a strike action which includes limited-service delivery. Before we are municipal workers, we are community members and as such, we too want to benefit from service delivery. Services can however not be delivered at the expense of workers’ safety and turning workers into slaves.
Issued by SAMWU KZN
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