Home South African Cosatu backs ANC staff in salary debacle, says situation is ’embarrassing’

Cosatu backs ANC staff in salary debacle, says situation is ’embarrassing’

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The federation has thrown its weight behind disgruntled ANC staffers who will take their frustrations to the streets on Monday as they embark on a nationwide picket over the non-payment of salaries.

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THE NON-payment of salaries to ANC staff is embarrassing, says Cosatu.

The trade union federation has continued to throw its weight behind disgruntled ANC staff who will take their frustrations to the streets on Monday as they embark on a nationwide picket.

This comes as staff have not been paid their August, September and October salaries.

Nationally, about 247 staff members are affected.

Prior to the build-up to the local government elections, workers had insisted that they would not partake in election campaigning, but that changed about two days after they made the announcement. They then committed to setting aside their frustrations to participate in winning the confidence of voters.

On Sunday the party’s staff representative, Mvusi Mdlala, said salary payments for August, September and October were still outstanding.

Workers are now calling to meet with the ANC’s top six to ensure that a formal response is received regarding salary repayments.

“We cannot, on a month-to-month basis, not know what is going to happen with our salaries. What is clear now is that we have no pay date within the ANC.”

The pay date is usually the 25th of each month, but that has not been the case for a few months.

Mdlala previously emphasised that staffers have had cars repossessed, and people could not afford to pay school fees, bonds, rent and daily living expenses.

“We are still in the same situation we were in before the elections. Workers are still owed August, September and October salaries.

“It is frustrating because we saw during the election campaign in October that the ANC leadership managed to raise money for the elections. Why didn’t they raise money for staff if they could raise money for elections? It is a sign of not caring about the workers,” Mdlala said.

He emphasised that workers were “very angry” about the non-payment and disappointed about the attitude of the party’s leadership.

As a result of their frustrations, they have resorted to expressing their disgruntlement through the picket. There are also talks of approaching the CCMA and seeking legal advice.

“These actions will only take place if we see that the leadership of the ANC is failing to respond,” Mdlala added.

Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the fact that the ANC was able to raise funds for the election campaign was concerning as this same approach should have applied to the workers. “It means that they do have the ability to raise these funds, they just have not felt the need to take it seriously.”

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said it had instituted a litigation process to ensure that members got their money.

A crowd-funding initiative was launched by the ANC with the aim of raising funds that might help them to pay disgruntled employees who had not yet received their salaries.

Labour expert Michael Bagraim said it was about time that the staff stood up to their employer.

“The criminal behaviour of taking the unemployment insurance money and spending it on something else is unforgivable. I cannot believe that the staff have waited almost a year to do something. I fully understand that they waited until after the election but the non-payment of backpay and unemployment insurance money goes back over six months. If it was any other employer they would have been not only laying criminal charges but they would have been on strike many months back,” he said.

“I also cannot believe that the state has not taken radical action. The Department of Employment and Labour would have many months ago taken radical action against any employer in the private sector. The non-payment of monies deducted from staff is criminal and should be followed up by the state.

“The message sent out by (the) African National Congress is negative to the entire employment arena.”

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