Samwu Bushbuckridge members on strike

2017-04-25 15:05
Samwu. (File)

Samwu. (File)

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Bushbuckridge - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in Bushbuckridge has embarked on a strike, demanding that the municipality honour a 2014 council resolution in terms of salary progression.

Employees have been on strike since last week Tuesday after they say the municipality rejected the outcome of a Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) award.

Samwu Bushbuckridge chairperson Jerry Baloyi said the municipality brought up a council resolution in 2014 that if an employee completed a year's work, they would receive a salary progression.

"On the 30th of March we received an arbitration award from the CCMA after laying a complaint regarding our notches as municipal employees," said Baloyi.

But municipal workers were then called by management telling them of the municipality's lack of funds, he said.

"The surprising thing is that it is not the workers who came up with such a resolution but the municipality, but when the time to pay up comes, they're telling of a lack of funds," he said.

Illegal strike

According to Baloyi, the municipality owed employees a total of R10m to starting from 2014 to date. Only a few have been paid, he said.

Baloyi alleged that some workers who were close to management had, in fact, received their money.

"They are busy employing expensive lawyers instead of paying us our money. Our directors earn a ridiculous amount of money beyond their rank scale, but they claim not to have money to pay us.

"We are here to remind them of the day when the accounting officer of the municipality signed to confirm that workers will be paid according to their notches," he said.

Bushbuckridge municipality spokesperson, Aubrey Mnisi said the strike was illegal.

Mnisi said that the municipality operates within the prescripts of the law that includes the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

"We have effective and operational oversight committees like the Audit Committee, Risk Committee that ensure compliance to all legislation governing the municipality. The municipality received an unqualified audit opinion in the last financial year... The allegations are far from the truth and baseless," he said.

'Anarchy'

Mnisi said that the municipality operates within a budget.

"We will only make budget available once the court rules on this matter as it is now under review. The Equitable Share grants received from National Treasury warrants that the municipality should not exceed a threshold of 35% in salaries," said Mnisi.

He said the municipality was still prepared to continue negotiations with the employees to solve the challenges. He mentioned that the municipality held a number of meetings with the employees union representatives.

"The law shall take its course. We cannot allow anarchy where workers do as they like to embark on illegal industrial action," he said.

The Bushbuckridge municipality spokesperson said it would take necessary and reasonable measures to preserve order in the municipality.

"It is important that emphasis is to focus and prioritise the needs of the communities while taking care of the staff. Not all staff members are on strike but Samwu is coercing them out of office and other work stations," Mnisi said.

Read more on:    samwu  |  mbombela  |  labour action

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