No pay, no show, say RTI

2009-10-19 00:00

WITH both Diwali and the MTN Amshovoa National Classic cycle race that took place this weekend, roads in Pietermaritzburg were busier than usual. However, fed-up traffic officials chose not to show up to work overtime because of alleged mismanagement in the department.

“I know we’re putting people’s lives at risk,” said one Road and Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) officer, “but we’re providing a service and they’re not paying us for it.”

The officer alleged that several RTI Pietermaritzburg staffers have not been paid for their overtime work in the past four months.

“They keep saying that they’ll pay us, but when it comes to the day, they always find some fault or the other and don’t end up doing it.”

Another officer explained that this time around they could not take things lying down because they’ve held several meetings with the newly appointed general manager, Bongiwe Ndlovu.

“Last month, they assured us that the problem would be sorted out,” he said.

“Then, suddenly, there are new problems. It is unacceptable.”

He said the department has refused to pay them overtime because it does not reflect on the duty roster drawn up as “a guideline of the hours [they] will work for the month”.

“We are called at any time if they need us,” he said. “We are dedicated and sacrifice our family time doing road blocks and making the city look good while management is at home sleeping; and that’s not a problem, but when it comes to paying us then it’s a problem.”

He said there is a signed attendance register and current book that reflect the hours that officers really work; the entries are checked at three levels in the department before they are sent to the costs office.

“If our supervisors sign off on our hours, then why is there an issue?” he asked.

“Of course the roster won’t reflect our hours; they are subject to change.

“Enough is enough. We won’t work,” he said, indicating that they will not work next weekend either if the problem is not attended to.

The traffic department indicated that everything was smooth sailing at the weekend. It said that only a handful of officers did not show up and guaranteed that the all payments will be processed today.

However, ER24’s Derrick Banks indicated the RTI officers were not present at any of the accident scenes they attended at the weekend. Luckily, he said, none of them was fatal.

Also, an officer said about 80 people coming for licence testing at the Mkondeni testing grounds on Saturday were turned away, and their tests were rescheduled.

The department would not comment on the above and said that they would follow up the matter.

Concerns were raised about traffic policing during yesterday’s Amashova cycle challenge. However, a source indicated that trainee officers from the traffic college stood in for absent employees.

“We are technically not striking because we all work our 40 hours a week,” the officer said. “We are just choosing not to work overtime until they sort out the mess.”

The RTI officers quoted asked to remain unnamed for fear of victimisation by management.

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