Council workers’ strike hits hard

2012-04-12 00:00

MKHAMBATHINI Municipality is running on a skeleton staff while workers are on strike and ratepayers become angry over service delivery.

Only managers and two Independent, Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) members are running the entire municipality.

Irate residents called The Witness. “Our refuse has not been collected and we were not aware that workers are on strike,” said one caller.

Another told of how angry workers had barred her from going into the municipal offices to pay her bills.

A striker, who would not be named, maintained that in spite of a council resolution in December to terminate the contracts of certain people in management, they were still at work.

He said the heads of departments (HODs) earned R687 000 per year and the municipal manager R886 000, packages workers considered too high for their grades.

They said only one municipal employee earned R350 000, which is outside the municipality’s salary structure, whilst the supervisors earned R190 000 and the lowest paid worker earned R3 500 a month — the equivalent of an HOD’s cellphone allowance.

They complained about the mayor’s bodyguards receiving special overtime pay.

A worker said the council had also resolved not to pay overtime and travelling claims, across the board, because the funds had been exhausted.

Workers are now demanding that all their salaries be adjusted one level, with back pay equivalent to the bodyguards’ back pay.

They also demanded that the council treat employees equally, set up a proper salary structure and offer proper service delivery to the communities, rather than paying high salaries to HODs.

Devan Pillay, the municipal manager said: “We have noted the demands sent to The Witness and wish to place on record that these demands have not been put to council in the prescribed form as provided for in the Main Collective Agreement”.

Pillay said the strike was an illegal industrial action and all those involved would face disciplinary hearings.

Shop stewards of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and Imatu have been served with a notice to this effect.

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