Samwu rift widens as 200 block union talks

2010-09-15 00:00

ABOUT 200 Msunduzi Municipality workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) protested outside the city hall yesterday, barring the union’s provincial officers from attending the council’s local labour forum.

The municipal employees hurled insults at the provincial representatives and warned the three representatives who tried to attend the forum that they “must never set their feet” in council meetings involving workers.

The workers said they do not want Samwu chairperson John Dlamini and the provincial leadership of the union to attend employee meetings at the municipality.

They also accused the provincial executive committee (PEC) of having ulterior motives to destabilise the council.

Workers who spoke to The Witness said they want their shop stewards, who were last week officially suspended by the province to be reinstated urgently and called for the speedy election of local office bearers, which has been put on hold for more than two months.

The workers held a casket with candles to show they want to “symbolically bury” the PEC in Msunduzi Municipality.

Yesterday’s protest marked ongoing rifts within Samwu in the municipality. The rifts started with the dissolution of the local committee last month and recently there have been petitions calling for the branch executive committee to be dissolved.

One faction of the union is said to want workers to march against Msunduzi Administrator Johann Mettler for demoting and suspending senior managers.

The opposing faction says they are satisfied with what Mettler is doing because he is stabilising the municipality and ensuring that they get their salaries at the end of the day since the municipality is cash-strapped.

A few workers have also questioned the dismissal of three councillors earlier this year.

Speaking about yesterday’s protest, Samwu provincial chairperson John Dlamini said there are proper channels to lodge complaints within the union structure.

He said the PEC received petitions to reinstate the suspended shop stewards and that the leadership is attending to it.

“We condemn that (protest) action on behalf of the PEC and Samwu members as it exhibits ill-discipline. There are about 2 400 Samwu members in Msunduzi and the few people that protested are not speaking for the majority,” he said.



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