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Pretoria – More strike action by Tshwane municipal workers might be on the cards, as the regional SA Municipal Workers (Samwu) say they are disappointment that Mayor Randall Williams cancelled a meeting with the union at the last minute.
The meeting was scheduled to take place last Thursday to look into some of the grievances contained in a memorandum handed over to Finance MMC Mare-Lise Fourie during the workers’ march on June 1.
Regional Samwu chairperson Nkhetheni Muthavhi said the union would convene a meeting with its shop stewards today to decide on the way forward.
Although he did not want to pre-empt the meeting outcomes, he foresaw the possibility of workers protesting outside Tshwane House until such time Williams responded to their demands.
He told the Pretoria News that the union took umbrage after the mayor failed to prioritise a meeting to address labour-related issues with worker representatives. “He missed an opportunity to engage with us and hear why we are raising certain issues. Some of the issues that we are raising are very practical and they just need an in-loco inspection. For example, we are saying power stations are not working. You just need to go there and see it for yourself instead of relying on official reports.”
Chief of staff Jordan Griffiths confirmed that Williams had to cancel a scheduled meeting with both Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) due to “personal urgent matters”.
“Indeed, there was a meeting scheduled with both unions, Samwu and Imatu. We don’t choose favourites in the City of Tshwane (when it comes to workers’ unions). We make sure we always engage with both unions,” he said on Friday.
“Unfortunately, we had to cancel the meeting as a personal urgent matter arose, which the executive mayor had to attend to,” he said.
Griffiths said a face-to-face meeting had already been rescheduled to take place with the union leadership.
During the march two weeks ago, Samwu demanded a salary increase of R4 000, and housing allowance of R3 500 for all workers, among other issues.
The union also bemoaned the fact that it had been engaging the City in the past four years to ensure that municipal buildings were compliant in line with Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements.
“In December 2020, Samwu wrote to the Executive Mayor on non-compliant buildings, but to date nothing has been done. These buildings include ISIVUNO, Tshwane Metro Police Department in Boom Street, Mabopane and Madiba 1, Bothongo Plaza, Graasdak in Region 7, Merngvers and Danlouw in Region 4 ,” they said in a memorandum.
Regarding the power stations, the union said: “The City of Tshwane is blessed with two power stations (Rooiwal and Pretoria West) with a capacity to generate 400 megawatts. Noting the challenges experienced by the country in terms of electricity generation, capacity of these two stations can cushion the City against load shedding.”