The City of Tshwane has obtained a court interdict against striking workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) to refrain from disrupting service delivery in the metro.
Head administrator Mpho Nawa said the City approached the Labour Court amid the protests by municipal workers last week with a view to stopping them from engaging in an unprotected strike. The court ruled in favour of the City, effectively ordering Samwu members to desist from tampering with delivery of services.
Nawa said in some instances the striking workers had switched off power at a clinic – a move which posed danger to the health of patients.
He said the interdict further barred workers from interfering with traffic flow in the inner city without authorisation of embarking on a strike.
The striking workers were also interdicted from damaging municipal property or intimidating non-striking employees or contractors linked to the municipality.
Nawa called for calm and pleaded with Samwu leaders to return to the negotiating table with a view to solving the impasse. He also apologised to residents for the devastating impact the protest had on service delivery.
Nawa said: “We have witnessed wanton destruction of property since last week in the CBD. This has now escalated to threats and intimidation of non-striking workers in various regions. Some of the striking workers have gone to the extent of switching off the lights at one of the City’s clinics which is providing a critical service during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He condemned the unbecoming behaviour of protesters who threatened non-striking employees.
“We hope that the court order will be complied with and that workers will return to work and provide the much-needed services to our communities,” Nawa said.
Samwu-affiliated workers took to the street last week, demanding that the metro pay them lump sums in line with a benchmarking agreement reached by the two parties last year.
The agreement stemmed from an investigation undertaken to measure salary scales of Tshwane employees against their counterparts in other metros in the level 10 grade.
The City was accorded level 10 status in 2017, but its workers’ salaries were not adjusted accordingly.
Nawa said: “The City’s finances are in a precarious state currently and if we attempt to pay the benchmarking monies we would be crippling the municipality and be forced to retrench the workers. We have bent over backwards to pay workers the annual wage increments amid very tight budgetary constraints.”