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Message-ID: <01bf1a28$86e609e0$de9d22c4@anna>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 12:53:15 +0100
Reply-To: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Anna Weekes <samwu@WN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Press Statement: Nelspruit water privatiser breaks promises, dispute declared!!
Comments: To: Undisclosed.Recipients@wn.apc.org

Nelspruit water privatiser breaks promises, dispute declared!!

SAMWU Press Statement
Tuesday 19 October 1999 1pm

The South African Municipal Workers Union will formally table a dispute with the Nelspruit TLC tomorrow morning over the controversial 30 year water privatisation contract won by British multinational company, Biwater, last year.

The company has already begun breaking promises it made when it was awarded the contract.

SAMWU Office Bearers were called to the municipality by workers for an emergency general meeting early this morning after rumours of job losses circulated. The union discovered that although Biwater promised to take over all water workers, workers were being approached individually and told to take "early retirement" by the end of this month.

Provincial Secretary Steve Sihlangu said that SAMWU had informed council of the intention to lodge a dispute on two grounds, the first being that in terms of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, workers may not be unilaterally transferred without consultation with their union.

"The second ground for dispute is that this particular contract is still a matter of disagreement in the Sectoral Forum yet council wants to implement from November 1st," said Sihlangu, who added that the union only heard "through the grapevine" that the water would be handed over to Biwater at the end of this month.

The Sectoral Forum consists of government and labour and was set up to settle disputes arising from non-compliance with the Framework Agreement reached last year.

The Nelspruit Council has refused to disclose any of the terms of the contract to the union, including future tariff rates for water.

The Council and Biwater have also come up with new Conditions of Service for workers, without consultation with the union or workers. This is also illegal in terms of the LRA.

The dispute means that the future of the contract will be decided in the CCMA.

For comment, please call the Provincial Secretary, Steve Sihlangu, on 082 9759838

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