Samwu urges striking eThekwini municipal workers to return to work

Business Live reports that eThekwini workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have been urged to return to work after a breakthrough in their engagement with the city. Some of the workforce went on an illegal strike two weeks ago, despite a court order to stop them, as they sought salary benchmarking with other metros, particularly the Ekurhuleni municipality. The city has said that it is unable to make changes to salary levels because the matter is negotiated at national level. The strike has affected service delivery in the city, leaving many suburbs without waste removal, water and electricity. There have been reported acts of violence and intimidation against non-striking workers and destruction of property.

In an update to the workers on Monday, Samwu national general secretary Dumisane Magagula expressed the union’s support for eThekwini workers’ demands and said they were concerned about the city’s failure to “correct” their salaries. “You are assured the national office bearers fully support the demand and all the initiatives to seek speedy resolution of this matter,” he said. However, Magagula announced the union had had positive engagements with mayor Mxolisi Kaunda where they agreed to hold a workshop on benchmarking and salary levels, which the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs would co-ordinate. “The processes of the workshop started on March 11 2024 and the report will be shared within 14 days.”

He urged union members to report to work and adhere to the court interdict while the union fought it. “It is necessary to alert members that the interim interdict remains in place until the return date [when] we will argue for dismissal of the interdict,” Magagula said. “Members are urged to continue to report for work at their depots daily. Whenever there is any update, the office bearers will convene membership meetings and issue communication.” He said the union would represent workers facing disciplinary proceedings and the 13 who would make their second court appearance on Wednesday.

by Lwazi Hlangu

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