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SAMWU blames SALGBC for frustrating worker’s disputes

More than 200 of Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality former - Aids Unit - workers felt let down by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council, (SALGBC) in Kempton Park last Friday on the 20th of October 2017. They were prepared to argue their two disputes against the municipality, which are unfair dismissal,

  in terms of section 191 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), and to be employed on a fixed term base (section 198B of LRA). But the matter was postponed due to the council’s administrative incompetence, and a lack of appetite to resolve workers’ matters speedily as the same matter was postponed on August the 31st due to the council’s administrative error, says Lindani Sibiya, a shopsteward representing workers from South African Municipality Workers’ Union, (SAMWU).

“We are very disappointed once again about the SALGBC misadministration, and poor service to its members. They had enough time to notify the respondent of their decision to consolidate the two matters to be heard by one commissioner on the same date, but couldn’t - even after we sent them series of emails reminding them about it,” says Sibiya.Lindani Sibiya from SAMWU addressing dismissed Ekurhuleni Municipality workers

Mr. Moragie Sono, an attorney representing the municipality couldn’t continue with the case since he came prepared for one matter, when workers were prepared for the consolidated matters as the Council’s Regional Secretary, Mrs Marther Nduli, communicated with the union, but failed to also notify the respondent of that communication.

“Our unemployed members took the little they had to come and hear their cases, but all in vain because of the council’s inability to resolve disputes brought to them speedily. It has been a tendency now for worker’s cases to pile up for years at the Bargaining Council without being heard,” says Sibiya.

This matter started After Aids Unit; a health programme governed by Ekurhuleni Municipality’s workers served the municipality with a notification letter compelling them to employ them permanently as per section 198B of LRA, as most of them have been in the programme since its inception in 2007. But instead, the employer also served all of them (500) with notification letters of contract termination as they were on temporary contracts. Then workers launched a case of unfair dismissal against the municipality at the Bargaining Council when they were not reinstated in June this year, citing precedents and the expectation the municipality had created over the years since 2007 by reinstating them at the end of their contracts every year at the end of June.

Dismissed workers by Ekurhuleni Municipality addressed by the union“Now all what workers want is to have their dispute resolved. Only if SALGBC could stop interfering in the work of commissioners and parties in disputes, workers would enjoy democratic systems designed to provide justice for them,” says Sibiya. The matter was agreed to sit again in November on a date yet to be communicated.

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