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Organised labour urged to suspend protest in City of Tshwane

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Gauteng Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC Lebogang Maile has urged organised labour in the City of Tshwane to suspend their unprotected industrial action.

The MEC has urged workers to return to the bargaining table.

The MEC’s comments follow an ongoing salary increment dispute between the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, which led to unprotected industrial action.

The unprotected action has been accompanied by the destruction of municipal property.

During a protest, which started on Tuesday, the union members also emptied bins and threw litter all over the city centre.

Maile has condemned the criminal tactic used by organised labour to force the municipality to concede to their demands.

He called on organised labour to disengage from industrial action.

“The doors for engagement are open in order to find an amicable solution. We call on union leaders to urge their members to return back to work and allow the negotiations to continue undisturbed. We also urge both parties to negotiate in good faith,” Maile said.

The MEC also noted that organised labour has resorted to industrial action without following due processes of declaring a dispute and submit a 48-hour strike notice, as per the Labour Relations Act.

“By law, an employer, in this regard, the City of Tshwane can seek a court interdict or alternatively enforce the principle of 'No Work, No Pay' against all its employees embarking on an unprotected industrial action. The right to strike should not be abused or used to undermine collective bargaining processes. We appeal to organise labour to go back to the bargaining table,” Maile warned.

Maile added that the department is prepared to meet with labour, in order to resolve the current standoff, so that service delivery is not affected.

He said he will also seek a meeting with leaders of labour to solicit a deeper understanding of their collective bargaining demands.

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