Samwu blamed for manipulating workers to fight factional battles

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has been accused of using the ongoing strike in the City of Tshwane to fight factional battles.

This after mayor Cilliers Brink announced at the weekend that municipal employees responding to a call-out were shot at in Montana, placing the blame on Samwu.

It has also been reported that the strike has resulted in the dismissal of more than 90 employees.

According to ActionSA Gauteng provincial chairperson Funzi Ngobeni, Samwu needs to be held accountable for what the strike has degenerated to.

Ngobeni said: “ActionSA is reliably informed that Samwu members have accused some of their leaders of selling out workers in pursuit of their self-interest. Some of these Samwu leaders are accused of accepting promotions to senior positions.

“There is a voice recording doing the rounds supporting these allegations. These are some of the frustrations of the workers that are now being exploited for factional battles in the union and now negatively affecting service delivery and costing employees their jobs.

“ActionSA is also concerned having noticed that some shop stewards from the City of Joburg were part of the unprotected strike and have been quoted threatening to render City of Tshwane ‘ungovernable’.”

Ngobeni said the party would write to city manager demanding an explanation why Samwu members were granted time off to attend a march that led to the strike.

The approval for their release, according to Ngobeni, defies what he has referred to as the main collective agreement.

“It is unheard of that the employer can approve ‘time off’ for shop stewards from one municipality to a march in another municipality unless that union is participating in a protected strike.

“Following the response that we will receive from the City of Johannesburg city manager, ActionSA will consider its options including the option of reporting Samwu to the Department of Labour.”

Meanwhile, the Tshwane coalition comprising the DA, ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, IFP and the ACDP has condemned the violence emanating from the strike.

The coalition highlighted the significance of prioritizing the interests of all citizens, however, notwithstanding their [workers] desires for wage increases.

“While we understand the desire for salary increases, we must prioritize the overall needs of our city and its residents,” said the coalition.

“The municipality lacks the funds to accommodate the additional R600-million that the proposed increases would contribute to our salary budget for the 2023/2024 financial year.

“The recent increases from Eskom and Rand Water have placed additional financial strain on our residents and this had to be taken into consideration in increases to other rates and taxes.

“Careful budgeting for the 2023/2024 financial year necessitated difficult decisions and budgetary adjustments to ensure the continuation of essential services, regular salary disbursements, and prevent potential lay-offs.”


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