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Union hands over demands

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The union also believes that unnecessary financial costs have been incurred in respect of using outside lawyers to resolve labour disputes at the Sol Plaatje Municipality

DEMANDS: Hundreds of Sol Plaatje Municipal workers took to the street on Friday morning to hand over a memorandum with a list of demands to representatives of the Premiers Office, Coghsta and the Sol Plaatje Municipality. Picture: Danie van der Lith

HUNDREDS of Sol Plaatje municipal workers took to the street on Friday morning to hand over a memorandum with a list of demands to representatives of the Premier’s Office, Coghsta and the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

No incidents were reported and the march was peaceful.

In their list of demands, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has called for the absorption of contract workers with immediate effect. “We also demand that all outstanding 13th cheques be paid out with immediate effect,” Dailey Semau, the local chairperson of Samwu said on Friday.

The union also believes that unnecessary financial costs have been incurred in respect of using outside lawyers to resolve labour disputes at the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“One law firm has been used the most without any council resolution being passed. Further to this we believe that this firm is appointing senior counsel from Gauteng and the Free State to arbitrate in labour issues. We are therefore demanding a full disclosure of the financial costs incurred for the last three years in respect of legal fees,” Semau said in the memorandum.

The union also wants an explanation regarding the roles and functions of the four appointed labour relations officers. “These officers have the capabilities to deal with labour issues at the Sol Plaatje Municipality and they need to be used to avoid unnecessary costs,” he said.

Another main issue the union raised in its memorandum was the outsourcing of municipal services, including at the Newton waterworks, electrical, road sections, parks and gardens, maintenance section, roads and stormwater and security departments.

“We demand that this outsourcing be stopped with immediate effect,” Semau said.

They further demanded that outstanding night allowances for firefighters, security officers and traffic officials be paid with immediate effect.

“EPWP workers must also be placed on the payroll to enable them to apply for vacant positions at the municipality.”

The union also called for the “double parking” in the Speaker’s Office to stop.

“It should also be equal pay for equal work for employees at the municipality. All vacant and funded posts must be advertised internally to allow equal opportunity for all employees.”

They also demanded that the 15 workers sitting at the city hall must return to their workplaces and all charges be withdrawn against them.

“We also call for the suspension of the executive director of Corporate and Human Resources as we believe they are responsible for the irregular appointment of Montswiwa Sebolecwe. We believe the head of this department is also responsible for the salary of a worker at Sebelecwe’s house as well as a worker at the former mayor, Mangaliso Matika’s house.”

Samwu has also called for action to be taken against Matika. “He is interfering in the smooth running of the organisation and it must end now. Mayoral committee members are also interfering in the administration of the municipality. There’s is an oversight roll and they must stick to that,” Semau said.

The union also called for a review of the organogram.

Samwu also brought up the issue of the last Local Labour Forum meeting which “ended in chaos as expelled Samwu members tried to hijack the meeting”.

“At this very same meeting, mayoral committee members decided to stage a walk out which we feel was disrespectful to not only the mayor, but also us as labour. The meeting was meant to resolve our issues as per our collective agreement in respect of organisation rights,” Semau said.

The Local Labour Forum, involving union representatives and management, is scheduled to meet today to discuss the grievances raised by Samwu and Imatu, including allegations of racism, unfair labour practices and employment contracts.

Samwu has given the premier, Coghsta and the Sol Plaatje Municipality seven days in which to respond to their demands.