The Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality is currently witnessing the wrath of its workers as they embarked on a protest over salary increases on Friday; thus traffic came to a standstill on the corner Madiba and Lillian Ngoyi streets. Some motorists were forced to make U-turns in order to avoid protesters, who blocked traffic.

Following a 60-day benchmarking exercise undertaken to compare City salary scales with those of their counterparts; the workers claimed they have lost patience with their employer, accused of a delaying process to adjust their salaries. The exercise was concluded two months back and its intention was to put Tshwane on a par with other Category 10 municipalities.

Recall that Tshwane was upgraded from level 9 to 10 in 2017, but its salary scales were not adjusted in line with its new status. The situation led City workers to go on a week-long protest in July, demanding their salaries to be in line with the new ranking of the municipality.

Secretary of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), Mpho Tladinyane told workers that there was a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at which a final decision was expected to be made on salaries’ adjustments. He said the union wanted the employer to pay back workers at lower salary scales a lump sum dating back to 2017 when the municipality was accorded a new status.

This was despite that the benchmarking report noted that City workers within the low-earning bracket took home better pay cheques than their counterparts in other metros.

On the other hand, the report said workers at a higher level are generally paid less compared with others elsewhere in the country.
However, workers dispersed after they were told to gather again on Monday to put pressure on the City to accede to their demands.

This week, it emerged that 45 Section 56 managers and divisional heads had initiated a court bid at the Labour Court, pushing for the City to reinstate the 18% salary increment. The increment was set aside by the City at the height of the wage negotiations with workers’ unions at the Bargaining Council in Centurion in August.

In an internal memo dated November 6, SAMWU reported that its regional shop stewards expressed concerns that the sixty days for benchmarking workers’ salaries with their counterpart employees in other metros has long expired.

They also warned of a possible standoff that might arise between the City and workers if the employer could not speed up the process to adjust salaries.