26 June 2019
SAMWU Demands Full and Immediate Payment of Workers’ Salaries
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is angered and agitated by the continuous failure by municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full and on time. This while, third parties such as medical aid, funeral policies and pension funds are in arrears. Essentially, municipalities are cheating workers out of their hard-earned money, which is by the way too little to sustain their lives.
There are over 30 municipalities in the country which have indicated that they will not be able to honour their contractual obligations with workers by paying them on the 25th while some municipalities have indicated that they will only be paying a portion of workers’ salaries despite workers having fully traded their labour with their respective employers.
In another disturbing instance, workers at the Amahlathi Local Municipality have been told by municipal management that they will not be getting their June salaries and that they should only expect to be paid at the end of July. These are the very same workers who will go for two months working and expected by the employer to continue going to work without receiving salaries.
Just a few days after the President announced his Cabinet, the leadership of SAMWU met with the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy Minister Parks Tau along with senior officials from the department. In that meeting SAMWU related the issues which workers are facing on the ground including the failure by municipalities to pay salaries on time and in full. COGTA’s response was that they are not aware of the situation, not aware that municipalities are relegating workers to hunger and starvation.
We view this as a deliberate and provoked attack by municipalities on workers and workers will respond appropriately by withdrawing their labour power to ensure that their families are fed and that their financial obligations are met.
We have on numerous occasions called for government to prioritise municipalities and ensure that they receive a fairer equitable share, something we thought would be announced by President Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address. The President has however been complicit on failing municipalities. We reiterate our call that municipalities should be given a greater preference when the 2019/2020 budget is presented, after all municipalities are in the coalface of service delivery. It can’t be correct that municipalities are expected to deliver services to almost 60 million on 9% of government expenditure.
SAMWU therefore demands the immediate payment of all salaries of municipal workers that have not been paid yet. When workers go on strike, municipalities apply the no-work no-pay principle, as a result workers are determined to apply the no-pay no-work principle until such a time that their salaries reflects in their bank account. We further demand these municipalities compensate workers for any charges and penalties incurred as a result the late payment. Workers’ salaries should also be paid with interests the longer the employer takes to pay them, because as they wait, the more their salaries lose value.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
(073 254 9394)
Deputy General Secretary
(084 806 4005)