Union threatens to strike over dismissals

2011-02-16 09:10

The provincial leadership of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has threatened strike action over what it calls the politically motivated dismissal of seven of its shop stewards in the Ekurhuleni Municipality on Joburg’s East Rand.

“We believe that the charges against the shop stewards have nothing to do with misconduct,” said Samwu’s Gauteng provincial secretary, Ntsikelelo Klaas.

According to Klaas, the shop stewards were targeted because they exposed tender irregularities in the municipality.

“The municipality does not follow correct procedures in their awarding of tenders,” he said. “As a result, the union has launched an urgent interdict with the South Gauteng High Court regarding the tenders.”

Klaas added that Samwu has handed information to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

The action follows the Ekurhuleni Municipality’s decision to terminate the services of seven of its employees, citing continuous disruptive behaviour by the defendants during a disciplinary hearing in the past eleven months.

The union said it has undertaken to take steps to ensure that its grievances are heard and are addressed. “We are not afraid to take this matter forward and as a result on February 22 we will be going on strike regarding this matter,” said Klaas.

“The municipality is trying to gag our members because they are raising corruption issues.”

Another concern raised by the union was that of the salary of the acting municipal manager of Westonaria.

“We think that such an amount (R1.4 million) is ridiculous for a small municipality like Westonaria,” Klaas said.

The union intends to hold a meeting tomorrow in order to plan its programme of action. “We want to give the mayor time to respond,” he said.

Repeated attempts to get comment from the Ekurhuleni Municipality were unsuccessful.

The seven employees who were dismissed are Kwena Ramotlou, Thabile Malindi, Steven Ntuli, Willy Kekana, Winnie Skhosana, Takalani Nkhumeleni, Jeanette Mokone.

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