21 December 2020
SAMWU year-end message
The National Office Bearers (NOBs) of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) take this opportunity to wish its members, staff, municipal workers and South Africans at large peaceful and safe festive season.
The NOBs further take this opportunity to thank members for having have stuck with the union through thick and thin, through the challenges that we faced as a union.
We further thank the union’s staff who have throughout the year continued to serve municipal workers with dedication, determination and without fail.
The year 2020 has been a testing year for workers across the world, including South Africa. This year has been difficult for workers in and outside of the workplace.
We are ending this year when world is batting a deadly virus which has claimed the lives of many municipal workers and workers in general. Many municipal workers remain infected with the virus.
South Africa is fast approaching a million cumulative infections. The Department of Health has also warned of a new strain of the virus which has been recently detected. This coupled with the fact that the country has officially entered a second wave of the virus means the worst is still to come.
It is for this reason that the NOBs urge all members and South Africans to be cautious during this period. By all means, we should all adhere to the regulations which have been put in place to contain the virus and protect lives.
As many South Africans will be travelling to various destinations for the holidays, we urge everyone to be safe and obey the rules of the road. During this period, the country usually records a number of fatalities on the road, including pedestrians.
We therefore urge everyone to avoid drinking and driving. Drivers should ensure that they reduce speed and get adequate rest. Pedestrians should also ensure that they are visible, wear bright clothes and avoid walking in poorly lit areas at night.
As we reach our destinations, we should not let our guard down and be complicit in the further transmission of the virus. We should ensure that we always wear our masks and sanitize frequently. These measures will not only protect our lives but also those of our families and loved ones.
We are closing off this year just a few days after the union successfully held its 12th National Congress from the 1st – 3rd December in Mahikeng, North West Province under the theme “advancing the unity of municipal workers for class struggles”.
The NOBs once again thank delegates to Congress for having have given them a mandate of leading this union and the implementation of Congress resolutions. We once again thank delegates for having ensured that our 12th National Congress is a success.
The new year will without a doubt be another testing year for the country’s municipal workers and workers in general. We are however ready to champion the interests of our members and ensure that 2021 becomes better than the previous year.
In the new year we are expecting to begin what we think will be the most difficult salary and wage negotiations in the local government sector. This because of the posture of National Treasury that we saw this year in relations to salaries of workers and the continued attempts to undermine and collapse collective bargaining in the country.
As mandated by Congress, we will be convening a Collective Bargaining Conference in the first weeks of the new year to better prepare the union for the salary and wage negotiations in both the South African Local Government Bargaining Council and the Amanzi Bargaining Council.
As earlier communicated, in all that we will be doing, we will ensure that the interests of our members are championed and that members come first. We are back to basics, its now members first with all hands on deck.
As we enter into the new year, we will prioritise Congress resolution of ensuring that municipalities that are problematic are identified and a programme of action is formulated. This programme will include municipalities that are victimizing workers and most importantly, municipalities that are criminally deducting money from workers and not paying it over to third parties such as medical aid, union fees, funeral policies and pension funds.
The NOBs are greatly disturbed by recent reports that over 25 municipalities have failed to pay over pensions of workers since April this year. This has resulted in over 1650 workers not being able to retire as their pensions are in arrears.
We will therefore be opening criminal charges against municipal management of these municipalities as the failure to pay these third parties is a criminal act. We will further be demanding that all monies due are paid with interests.
In municipalities where criminal cases have been open, we will be applying pressure on the judiciary to ensure that municipal managers are criminally prosecuted for this theft of workers’ monies.
The union will further be approaching the pension funds adjudicator to ensure that workers’ pensions are paid over immediately and consistently moving forward.
The NOBs once again wish all members, staff and South Africans peaceful and safe holidays. Rest safely and come back rejuvenated and ready to continue delivering services to South Africans without fail.
We further take this opportunity to invite all municipal workers to join us in the exciting journey that lay ahead for the union. SAMWU remains the home for all municipal workers, for those who have not joined SAMWU, the time is now, we say join SAMWU now!
To our members who will be working during this period, we urge you to execute your duties with caution and safely so. South Africans remain indebted to you for having have sacrificed family time in the interest of continued service delivery!
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Deputy General Secretary
National Media Officer
073 710 0356