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Workers stage sit-in at NC municipality as they demand answers

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Workers stage sit-in at NC municipality as they demand answers

MUNICIPAL workers staged a sit-in at Umsobomvu Local Municipality on Wednesday and have vowed to embark on further mass action if they do not receive answers regarding a list of demands that was handed over to management last month.

The sit-in was led by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).

Samwu technical adviser Lungile Gerzana said they were prepared to “do anything that it takes” to get answers.

“Only management are not taking part in the protest and no work is taking place until this matter is resolved,” said Gerzana.

He said that money was deducted from workers’ salaries for last month’s strike action without any notice.

“While members embarked on the strike on a no-work, no-pay basis, no consultation took place over how the money would be deducted. Members did not have time to make payment arrangements on their debit orders and wanted to have the funds deducted over two months.”

Gerzana said that they wanted payroll to withhold the payment of the March salary run until the issue of deductions was resolved.

He added that union members had not received any feedback regarding their demands – including the issue of category 2 salaries backdated to 2015, the payment of Covid-19 allowances, outstanding uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Umsobomvu municipal spokesperson Siyabulela Phololo said that the two-days payment was deducted from workers as the strike action on February 22 to 23 was considered to be illegal.

“The salary run closed on March 15 and the money has already been deducted. Salaries will be paid on Thursday, March 25,” said Phololo.

He said that the municipal manager was in De Aar and was unable to meet with the union representatives on Wednesday.

“Management is expected to meet with the unions on Thursday, March 25. Perhaps they will discuss the list of grievances when they meet. The sit-in on Wednesday was peaceful and essential services were not interrupted as not all workers participated in the sit-in.”