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,
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
The company has already begun breaking promises it made when it was awarded
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
For comment, please call the Provincial Secretary, Steve Sihlangu, on 082