Tshwane gives final ultimatum to striking workers


The Tshwane Metro has given its striking workers until 10:30 on Friday to suspend their illegal strike and return to work – or further action will be taken against them.

The metro says in a letter to the municipal workers union Samwu that if its members do not comply with the last ultimatum, it will “take appropriate disciplinary action against all employees” and that this may “lead to dismissals”.

Johann Mettler, city manager, also says in the letter that striking workers must note that they will not be paid for the time they participated in the illegal strike.

Hundreds of members of the union have been on strike since Monday over the 0% wage and salary increase that the city council approved in June. Mettler already gave an ultimatum to employees on Monday and warned them not to participate in the illegal strike.

The workers were also warned against damage to property and unacceptable behaviour, as they would be held responsible “for any losses or damage caused to the metro’s property due to the illegal and unprotected strike”.

A total of 15 people have already been arrested on charges of public violence.

On Wednesday, another ultimatum was issued, but the strike continued nonetheless.

“You have continued to participate in the illegal and unprotected strike, in blatant disregard of the first ultimatum and numerous demands to end your illegal strike,” writes Mettler in the letter.

“You have intimidated those who are not on strike into not performing their duties and this has had a serious effect on the city’s ability to provide basic and essential services, such as dealing with power outages, to residents.

“Even more so, your illegal strike has caused the residents of Tshwane to also now become involved in protests due to the serious disruption of service delivery.”

Mettler says the metro will also approach the labor court on an urgent basis so that a costs order can be obtained against Samwu.

Try to straighten out money matters

Cilliers Brink, mayor of Tshwane, stated unequivocally this week that the metro’s finances are troubled and that the city simply cannot afford any salary increases.

The metro has also submitted a pending application for exemption to the Bargaining Council for Local Governments (SALGBC) so that it can be temporarily exempted from the increases.

Samwu maintains that its members and municipal workers in general will fall into poverty and starvation, as their salaries cannot keep up with rising living costs.

The union has undertaken to ensure that its members receive the necessary wage and salary increases.