The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) announced that its members and municipal workers are not supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for salary cuts. This announcement was made on Friday (10/04). The president announced on Thursday (09/04) that he, together with his deputy David Mabuza, ministers and their deputies, would be taking a salary cut of 33% for three months. The salary cut followed the extension of the national lockdown by a further 14 days to the end of April as government tightens the belt against the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). The first lockdown period of 21 days was expected to end on 16 April following its implementation on 26 March. Samwu has distanced itself from the salary cut measure announced by Ramaphosa following the shutdown extension of 14 days. “Our members and municipal workers in general would not be participating in this salary cut challenge. We further place it on record that there are no discussions between unions and the city on workers participating in this challenge. If anything, the statement by the president seeks not only to demoralise the municipal workers but also to drive a wedge between the union and its members. Municipal workers are at the bottom of the food chain, they simply do not have money laying around unlike politicians. We will therefore leave this challenge to politicians as we are not prepared and will not subsidise operations of employers,” said Koena Ramotlou, Samwu’s general secretary. He said the union does sympathise and see the need for more resources to be channelled towards the coronavirus prevention measures. “Such responses cannot be done at the expense of pickpocketing municipal workers on their hard-earned money, money which is not even enough to cover their basic needs as they are not paid decent wages. We therefore urge all the 254 municipalities and their entities in the country to not even dare and include municipal workers as participants in this challenge of theirs,” said Rotolo.He has warned the municipalities against enforcement of the salary cut on its affiliate members. “Forcing municipal workers to take a salary cut would be a declaration of war, a war that municipal workers are prepared and well-oiled to fight to the bitter end. We therefore expect municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full, including their benefits in line with their conditions of service,” said Ramotlou.