Workers claim R15,8 mln

2011-02-15 00:00

AN ongoing dispute over the implementation of a new grading system at the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) has not been resolved more than a year later.

Workers now say the municipality owes them more than R15,8 million in back pay.

The issue started towards the end of December 2009 when the new placement process was put in place. According to workers, the terms of agreement when the resolution was taken were that any benefits that might accrue to employees as a result of their placements would be implemented from July 1, 2010.

Sources allege that when the time came for the municipality to honour the agreement, workers were not given their benefits. Instead they were allegedly told by the Municipal Manager, Sibusiso Khuzwayo that he had been advised by the KZN Local Government Association (Kwanaloga) that there would not be any increment in line with the new organisational structure.

“We then asked him to bring a written copy of the advice but instead of bringing that copy to the following meeting he brought a legal document on opinion and advice from PKK Attorneys which was not what we were expecting,” said the source.

He added that Khuzwayo told workers at a meeting held at the Sinodale Centre on February 3 that he allegedly made a mistake in implementing the new placement process and invited them to a full council meeting where he allegedly would also admit his mistake.

Nonhlanhla Msomi, chairperson of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union shopstewards group at the UMDM said, “We do not know of any mistake that was made in implementing the new placement process because there were workshops that were aimed to prepare for this. Why it has taken the municipal manager more than a year to realise his mistake?” asked Msomi.

“Workers are not happy with the behaviour of the municipal manager and demand the money owed to them since July 2010,” added Msomi.

According to a source, this affected service delivery. He alleged that after management refused to meet with workers on December 23 and 24 they had a go-slow affecting Hilton residents, which resulted in the water supply being cut off. The municipality had to call in Umgeni Water to help fix the burst water pipes on those dates.

When asked for a comment, UMDM municipal manager Khuzwayo said, “It is ironic that the same union that has declared a dispute on the placement matter on February 2, has deemed it fit to approach such a credible newspaper like The Witness for the so called ‘scoop’.”

He said the placement issue is now following a dispute resolution process as articulated in the collective agreement and was therefore ‘sub-judice’.

He said a detailed media statement will be released once the courts have made a ruling on the matter.

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