Municipal workers emerge victorious in pay dispute

2014-05-07 00:00

UNIONISED eThekwini municipal workers yesterday emerged victorious when council resolved to settle the payment dispute between the parties.

After a fruitless meeting at Currie’s Fountain Stadium on Monday to give feedback on service dispute, the angry employees embarked on a rampage on Dr Pixley KaSeme Street where they overturned bins.

Last September, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of workers, which meant the city had to revert to conditions of service in place before new conditions were implemented in 2007, when municipal entities merged.

Municipal head of communications Tozi Mthethwa said the bone of contention was that no uniformity was made to the conditions of employment, including pay structures of the different entities. “As a result the city manager set up a Technical Task Team (TTT) consisting of labour unions to identify and quantify in monetary terms all the implications of the court’s decision. The only outstanding issue has been the period within which to effect payment to affected employees,” Mthethwa said in a statement.

She said after Monday’s rampage the mayor James Nxumalo called an urgent Special Executive Committee (Exco) meeting to find a way forward.

She said a settlement had been proposed and had been presented to union leaders. Samwu regional secretary Nhlanhla Nyandeni said the employees will receive a three-year payment this month and the the remaining four years will be paid in December.

He said the municipality owed them more than R240 million. “The officials said there was R120 million in their reserve and that was not enough to pay for the seven years,” he said.

When asked to confirm this, Mthethwa said, “A settlement was presented to labour, and that’s as far as I can go for now”.

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