After four years of negotiations in and out of court, the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality (BLM) finally agreed with the worker’s union, SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers’ Union), to settle the progression payments, as imposed by court order. This comes after employees downed tools in protest against what they labelled “incompetent leadership”, prior to the outcome of the meeting in the afternoon on Monday, the 29th of October.
According to the members of SAMWU, the municipality owes them between 6-10% for each month for the past four years. The matter was then concluded in a prolonged meeting that seemed to be angering the impatient employees outside the municipal offices at the BLM headquarters who continued chanting and singing struggle songs throughout. It is alleged that the municipality owes the employees an estimated figure of around R43 Million.
“The good news is, we’ve finally agreed on a settlement plan with management, and as a union, we are happy that the matter has come to an end. They promised to pay us within three days,” said Lawrence Mahole, SAMWU deputy chairperson.
Speaking on behalf of BLM, communications officer Aubrey Mnisi said; “This matter is receiving attention, as the court has directed us to resolve this matter in accordingly, management is adhering to settle the matter. The only issue is that we don’t have all the money at once, but we agreed with them in principle that we’re going to initiate the first two payments this month and also in November, and the rest of the settlement will be paid up by December 2019.”
“This relates to a council resolution that was taken in 2014, which indicates that we need to pay progressions, it means we have to progress from one particular salary notch to the next level in a year, so those are the monies that were owed from 2014 until now,” Mnisi added.
When asked why they took so long to reach such conclusion, Mnisi said it’s because of the legal case that was still pending. “The reason there were delays is because there was a court case that went on for about two years, and it was finalised this year.” He concluded.