Dissatisfied Samwu members march in Cape Town

2014-05-20 17:31
(Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

(Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Disgruntled SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) members marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre on Tuesday in protest against how line managers treated them.

Samwu regional secretary Mikel Khumalo said about 2 000 members took part in the legal protest, which started in Keizersgracht Street around noon.

He said more workers from around Cape Town would have participated had a transport agreement with a bus company not fallen through at the last moment.

"The fact is that workers are not happy with the manner in which managers are treating them at different spots," he said.

"There is no relationship whatsoever between workers and line managers. As a responsible organisation, we are calling on politicians to intervene and to ensure we try to address this."

The members worked for various departments within the City of Cape Town.

Khumalo claimed line managers had taken away transport benefits, meaning its members paid "thousands" each month to travel to work.

Workers not liked by management sometimes had "huge shortfalls" at the end of the month because shift hours and logs were changed without their knowledge, he said.

"What we are finding to be a common factor is line managers are not accountable and do what they wish across the city."

A memorandum outlining these grievances was accepted by Mayor Patricia de Lille. The city said in a statement it had hoped to avert the strike by speaking to Samwu representatives after a strike notice was received.

Following the march, it believed agreement was reached on a number of processes.

One of the city's proposals was that all directorates, senior line managers, and shop stewards have a facilitated meeting to deal with outstanding grievances.

"A formal monitoring mechanism to further strengthen the management of unresolved complaints would be established," the city said.

It hoped to strengthen its relationship with the union to avoid future strikes.

Khumalo welcomed the proposals but remained reserved.

"Satisfaction can only be measured in as far as action is concerned," he said.

"The mayor is willing to work with us and listen to us. What she said we agree with but action is now lying in the hands of line departments."

The union agreed to suspend its strike for 30 days pending negotiation processes.

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