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Metro blames spike in service delivery disruptions on workers demanding overtime

Nov 8, 2017
Metro blames spike in service delivery disruptions on workers demanding overtime

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Wednesday again blamed an overtime dispute with some of its workers for service delivery disruptions in parts of the Bay.

On Wednesday, workers aligned with the South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) downed tools and marched to the Port Elizabeth City Hall over the continuing dispute.

"Please note that the new overtime policy stipulates normal overtime pay rates for any staff member earning above R205 433 per year. The overtime pay rates for those earning below this figure remain unchanged," said Kristoff Adelbert, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Chief of Staff: Office of the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.

"The Municipality recently made an important decision to pay municipal staff regular hourly rates for any weekend overtime worked.

"Previously, a rate of 1.5 and 2 was paid on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively. This was unaffordable and widely abused, as noted and found by the Auditor General, amongst others."

Adelbert said that for similar reasons, the Department of Home Affairs has recently done away with overtime entirely (see here: www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches).

"Despite a commitment by the Municipality to continue paying overtime, but only at normal rates, some staff continue their efforts to force the Administration to back down on this new overtime policy.

"We have reason to believe that this has been the cause of weeks of service delivery interruptions, with the South African Police Service investigating a case of sabotage," he added.

"Again today [Wednesday], we have seen a spike in power and water outages as certain labor unions urge workers to down tools. We ask all residents to prepare for further possible interruptions."

Adelbert said that the Metro has put a contingency plan in place, with a number of contractors on stand by to assist where necessary.

"This coalition government cannot pay more than normal rates for overtime, otherwise the institution will have to cut costs in other ways at a later stage - possibly through retrenchments.

"This coalition government has had to make difficult decisions, in support of long term financial sustainability and ongoing service delivery improvements," he added.

"Every single municipal staff member and public representative needs to put the residents of this Metro first.

"We are civil servants, mandated to ensure that our fellow South Africans have access to Services, as enshrined in the Constitution."