Workers down their tools

2018-02-28 06:00

Service delivery in the Xhariep District Municipality came to a grinding halt on Monday (26/02).

Scores of angry workers, supported by their trade unions, downed their tools over unpaid salaries for February.

These workers are affiliated with two unions – the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).

The decision to down their tools followed the workers’ discovery that Angry workers took the decision to down tools upon discovering their wages for February had not been paid by the beleaguered ANC-led district municipality.

In an effort to pressurise the bankrupt municipality to pay their salaries, some of the workers decided to camp at the headquarters of the embattled municipality in Trompsburg.

In terms of the Municipal Human Resource Policy and Contracts of Employment, employees should receive their salaries on the 25th of every month and, if the 25th falls on a weekend, the payment of salaries will be processed a day earlier.

However, instead of receiving a salary, the workers received a notice from the municipal manager of the Xhariep district, Lebohang Moletsane, about a delay to the payment of salaries.

A letter addressed to the workers read: “It is once again with great dismay that I have to inform you that, given the municipality’s current financial situation, there will be a delay in honouring the salary bill of both our officials and councillors for the month of February 2018.

“This comes despite the enormous efforts the municipality has undertaken in January and February to address this matter.

“I therefore, with a great degree of humility, profusely render my most sincere apology on behalf of the municipality. I understand the inconvenience and suffering this delay in payment of salaries causes to both you and your families, as you are dependent on this source of income and material survival.

“Please do bear with us. The situation is beyond the municipality’s control. However, we commit ourselves to the fact that the February salaries will be paid immediately upon receipt of the next equitable share trench in March.”

The municipality’s situation will be clear when the MEC for Finance, Elzabe Rockman, delivers her provincial budget speech on Wednesday (07/03).

Dissatisfied workers bitterly lamented the suffering caused by the cash-strapped municipality’s non-payment of salaries.

They insisted that the municipality be placed under administration like the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality in Qwaqwa.

“When employees raised their frustrations regarding the issues affecting them, the councillors threatened employees with charges of dismissal,” said one of the workers who requested to remain anonymous.

  • Express’s efforts to receive comment from the municipality proved futile, as the officials were reportedly in a meeting with the unions representing the employees.

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