Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has intervened in the wage dispute between Amatola Water and its employees which has resulted in employees embarking on an industrial action.
The workers embarked on a strike on 20 September 2019, demanding a 1.5% of the 8% payment increase, as agreed by the Amanzi Bargaining Council in 2018/2019.
The agreement was binding to all members including Amatola Water. The payment of the gap increase of 1.5% will be from 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 financial years.
While Amatola Water Board conceded in 2018/2019 that the utilitay was not in a viable financial position to award the 8% increase, it however settled for 6.5% for the 2017/2018, and 2018/2019 financial years.
Due to the Minister’s intervention, the remaining 1.5% which has been the bone of contention has since been brokered by the shareholder, Sisulu, Water and Sanitation and Amatola Water Board, bringing an end to the strike action.
Through their union leaders, the employers have since confirmed their commitment to return to work from Wednesday.
The source of funds to implement the increases will come from various savings within Amatola Water’s operations.
Sisulu said they have a huge responsibility to serve people, and they need all hands on deck to serve the people of the Eastern Cape who are currently going through difficult times, as a consequence of the recent drought.
“While our employees are within their constitutional right to embark on a strike action, I appeal to all of them to always be mindful that they are not ordinary employees as their much needed service of providing water to the people of South Africa is an essential service.
“I call on each and every one of them to be civil in their approach and always guard against opportunists who often use valid grievances for their selfish interest,” the Minister said.