Nhlakanipho Mgabhi, Zululand Municipal and Allied Trade Union of SA (Matusa) shop steward, said while it was not their intention to cause suffering for residents, they too were suffering. “If you look at other district municipalities, people who do the same work and are on the same grade earn more than us, which is unfair.”
Mgabhi said their basic salary was just over R7 000, while their counterparts allegedly earned at least R10 000.
“We also have some of our colleagues in this municipality who are hired through an agent. We want the municipality to change this,” he said.
Mgabhi said they marched to the municipal offices in uLundi on Monday and handed over a memorandum of demands to the municipal manager.
“Those hired through the agent must be hired by the municipality directly,” said Mgabhi.
However, Zululand mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi said the strike was illegal and expected workers to report for work immediately. “We obtained a court order and shared it with the workers on Monday. Those who we find did not return to work will face disciplinary action.”
Buthelezi believed the strike had a political motive as the workers and unions were aware that job evaluation and grading were dealt with by the SA Local Government Association.
“The majority of workers belonging to other unions understand this. These striking workers destroyed pipes and valves. We have opened four cases with police.”
He said the municipality, which was on a financial recovery plan, could not afford to in-source workers, nor increase night shift and standby allowances.