Municipal employees in Tshwane went on strike in July 2023 in demand of an increase of 5,4% in effective salary.
In the last seven weeks, City of Tshwane employees affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have been downing tools over a salary hike dispute, causing violent protests and service delivery problems.
Cllr. Cilliers Brink, Executive Mayor, explained that the city is in poverty and that he could not raise salaries.
The municipality applied for exemption from the South African Local Government Bargain Council due to its refusal to pay increases and the ongoing SAMWU strike.
A case was filed with SALGBC where the city mayor argued against paying wage increases to Municipal workers. It failed to prove its financial difficulties, as claimed by the mayor, according to the Commissioner.
She argued that the City’s finances had improved since the last financial year. The city had budgeted just over R12 million for staff remuneration but ended with a surplus of just over R1.1 billion.
The Commissioner dismissed the application by the city and ordered the city to comply with the wage collective agreement.
“This is untenable, and as the City of Tshwane, as the DA caucus, we are calling on the police to urgently intervene in this issue.”
“SAMWU implores the City and its management to comply with the collective bargaining agreement and SALGBC ruling.”
The mayor has indicated on numerous occasions that his government respects collective bargaining.
If this is indeed the case, the mayor will immediately instruct the administration to process salary increases for municipal workers,” said Precious Theledi, SAMWU Tshwane Regional Secretary.
The union thanked its members for the patience they have shown and for allowing the union to defend them.
Selby Bokaba, city spokesperson, expressed disappointment and said the city had presented compelling arguments supported by evidence supporting the appeal to the Labour Court.
However, the Executive Mayor seems not willing to comply with the dismissal of the municipality’s bargain exemption. He made a video along with City Manager, Johann Mettler stating that they are taking further steps with small claims court.