Democratic Alliance declares itself an enemy of municipal workers
15 August 2023
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has noted with great concern a clip from a speech made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen at the party’s Gauteng Provincial Conference over the weekend. In the video clip, Steenhuisen can be heard telling delegates to the Conference that “if you can’t tell SAMWU there is money for salary increases, then you will have nothing to inherit. You will simply be [inaudible] to repeating the mistakes of the ANC, and that we cannot afford.”
SAMWU considers the remarks by Steenhuisen as a direct attack to collective bargaining which was not given on a silver platter to workers. Collective bargaining is the product of the blood and sweat of many workers who came before us, such as the Union’s founding President Cde Petrus Mashishi. Leaders such as Mashishi fought for centralisation of salary and wage negotiations with the aim of improving municipal workers’ conditions throughout the country.
Steenhuisen’s comments were made during a time when relations between SAMWU and the City of Tshwane are eroded and at an all-time low as a result of the City refusing to pay workers their 3.5% and 5.4% salary increases for the years 2021 and 2023 respectively. Municipal workers in Tshwane have, as a result of the non-implementation of the collective agreement failed to catch up with the rising cost of living.