The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipal workers called off their strike on Friday. Workers, most of whom were led by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the municipality reached an agreement on back-pay of long-service bonuses.
Contention over back-pay followed the merger of several municipalities into the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. According to City Manager, Johann Mettler the settlement was reached that provides for “R10,000 for employees with 12 to 17 years, R16 000 for employees with 18 to 23 years, and R21 000 for those employees with service of 24 years and more”.
The bonuses will paid after Council approval which will come by 15 July at the latest.
Mzwandile Toyise, a SAMWU shop steward, told hundreds of workers gathered at the Feather Market that he was pleased the matter had been resolved. “We have achieved what we were demanding,” he said.
Toyise said that SAMWU had asked the Commission for Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation to intervene and help broker a settlement, because the municipality had on several occasions refused the demands on bonuses.
Worker Gloria Jacobs said, “Thanks to all workers who participated in the strike because the results are with us to enjoy. I am also appealing to workers that we should help each other in future. We need to unite and abolish the issue where departments fight their battles alone.”
Most services in the metro came to a halt as the strike gained momentum and more unions joined it. The service most affected was refuse collection. Uncollected rubbish is spread all over the municipality. Mettler said that the municipality will begin clearing the rubbish from Friday afternoon.
The municipality said the following was agreed:
The 458 employees currently employed as contractors will be permanently employed by 1 July 2018.
The Locomotion, Overtime and Scarce Skills policies will be further discussed at the Local Labour Forum.
All unresolved issues relating to overtime will be resolved.
The issue of prolonged suspensions will be further clarified with the unions.
All employees currently participating in the industrial action will return to work on Monday unless they are officially on duty over the weekend.