8 March 2022
SAMWU Statement on the unlawful dismissal of employees by City of Johannesburg.
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in the Petrus Mashishi Region (PMR) formerly known as Greater Johannesburg Region has today called this media briefing following the dismissal of over 130 employees.
On the 3rd of March, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Cllr Mpho Phalatse called a media briefing wherein she and her fellow MMCs and the Acting City Manager unleashed unwarranted attacks on workers, their persons and professions.
The attacks by Cllr Phalatse come after the multi-party City of Johannesburg Council took an illegal and unlawful decision to terminate the employment contract of 130 employees, alleging that these employees’ contracts of employment were converted irregularly.
After the Council meeting, workers were furnished with letters from the Office of the City Manager wherein workers were requested to make representation on how their “irregular appointments” should be regularised.
It is public knowledge that the contracts of employment of these employees were converted in March 2021, following the advertisements of the vacancies and the rigorous interview processes.
It is therefore unfortunate that the City has decided that these employees are political appointees and as such decided to terminate their contracts of employment without following any due process let alone terminate the contracts on the basis of misconduct, insubordination or dereliction of duty.
Instead of thanking workers for the service that they have rendered to the City for many years, the City instead opted to dismiss them from employment, doing away with the experience of over 8 years that some of these employees have with the City.
As SAMWU, we place it on record that the decision taken by Council is illegal and unlawful for a variety of reasons including but not limited to;
These employees have legal and binding contracts of employments that cannot be unilaterally terminated without valid reasons.
These employees have not committed any acts that seek to undermine the smooth running of the administration.
The City has failed to give these employees an opportunity to be moved to other departments within the City given the fact that they do not want to work with them anymore.
Council is not an employer of these employees and as such it cannot dismiss them, their conditions of employment are dealt with by the administration and not Council.
Council is only responsible for Section 56 & 57 employees which are Municipal Managers and those who report directly to them.
There has been no consultation with unions who are representatives of these employees.
Employees have been requested by the City to make representation on why their contracts should not be terminated. It is the City that should be making a case on why there should be termination, following a disciplinary hearing.
There has been no disciplinary hearing that has been conducted against these employees.
The City alleges that these employees have been employed by the previous ANC administration along political lines yet there are employees from various political parties who have received these letters.
More importantly, these employees did not employ themselves nor did they convert their own contracts of employments.
We are however not surprised by the move taken by the DA-led multi-party government to dismiss these workers. We have for many years known the DA to be an anti-worker organisation.
It is for this reasons that we are not surprised but disgusted in the manner in which the City communicated with these employees by sending armed Metro Police to hand deliver the notices as though these employees are criminals.
We have also noted that since coming into power through this coalition government, the DA has been hellbent on interfering in the administration of the City and it’s entities through the Mayor and her MMCs, forgetting that their role is political and not administrative.
Currently, the City is claiming that they have not dismissed any employee but rather that they have given these workers a chance to make representation on the regularisation of their contracts of employment.
The fact that some employees have had their tools of trade taken away from them while others do not have access to the workplace suggests that the City has already taken a decision that they do not want these employees anymore.
We have therefore as SAMWU taken a conscious decision that we will be challenging the unilateral change of conditions of employment of these employees.
Workers should not feel tempted by the City’s offer of a 6 months payment to terminate their employment contracts. We do not need to remind these workers of the high levels of unemployment and the less chances of getting employed.
As a representative of these workers, the City should have communicated with unions, especially when seeking to get the representation which they say they need from them.
We therefore urge all workers who have so far received this notices to make representation to not do so, but rather contact the union to make a collective representation.
Our position is that there has been no transgressions on the part of workers and as such, any more that seeks to temper with the conditions of service of these workers shall be met with fierce resistance from all workers across the City.
Municipal workers in the City of Johannesburg will not fold their arms while their fellow employees are persecuted for political milage by the DA and its allies.
Finally, in the interest of labour stability in the City, we call on Cllr Phalatse and her Council to stop interfering in the administration of the City. We further demand that they retract the letters that they have sent to workers and allow these workers to continue working in line with the contractually binding contracts that both the City and employees have signed.
Presented by SAMWU Regional Office Bearers
08 March 2022
SAMWU House, Johannesburg
(072 120 3484)
Deputy Regional Chairperson
(079 491 2398)
Deputy Regional Secretary
(066 290 2134).