Pay protest disrupts Bloemfontein services

2012-05-10 17:21

Bloemfontein - A pay protest by municipal workers brought services to a halt at Mangaung metro's office in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

There was a strong police presence at the Bram Fischer building, where workers sat on the lawns around the buildings.

Chairman of the SA Municipal Workers Union at the municipality, Pule Molalenyane, said workers were protesting to get what they deserved.

"This is about salary adjustments, not politics."

He claimed the metro's executive management had already received upgraded salaries, but not the workers. "They must take corrective steps to rectify this."

The Mangaung local municipality became a metro after the May 2011 local government elections. Metro spokesperson Qondile Khedama said Thursday’s protest was unprotected and illegal.

Molalenyane said the metro was willing to adjust salaries of the councillors and the new management, without using a performance management system, by more that 17%, but not those of the people doing the "real work".

Molalenyane said new metro manager, Sibongile Mazibuko, apparently earned a R2.1m salary, which the union said was 24 percent higher than the municipal manager's wage in the previous system.

Samwu said the metro’s executive directors were all being paid about 17% more.

Molalenyane told reporters that workers wanted to get paid what other metro workers earned.

The metro said workers should realise that municipalities could not negotiate salaries at local level. All municipalities were represented by the SA Local Government Association (Salga), and salaries were bargained for centrally.

Khedama said structures in the metro would look at the placement of all employees on the new metro structure. He urged the workers to return to their jobs.

Some metro employees still working on the second floor were sent home after taps in the toilets were left running, flooding offices. Residents arriving to pay rates and taxes were turned away during the morning.