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From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Mon Jul 3 17:19:09 2000
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 12:42:21 +0200
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Anna Weekes <samwu@WN.APC.ORG>
Organization: SAMWU
Subject: SAMWU Press Statement: SAMWU on events in Johannesburg

SAMWU on events in Johannesburg

SAMWU Press Statement,
July 3rd, 2000 1pm

The South African Municipal Workers Union and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union will be returning to the Johannesburg Metro Division of the Bargaining Council this Wednesday July 5th, 2000. The Bargaining Council will reconvene to chart a way forward after last week's Special Plenary deadlocked.

Last week, Council representatives refused to sign a written moratorium on all implementation of iGoli 2002. This refusal came despite Exco Chair Kenny Fihla (who was not present at the Bargaining Council) having given an early morning guarantee that the Bargaining Council could bind itself to a written moratorium, and despite Local Government MEC Trevor Fowler having proclaimed a moratorium on restructuring last Friday morning.

It is clear that the Council officials' reluctance to agree to the moratorium stems from the fact that an end to commercialisation of Johannesburg's assets would mean that various lucrative positions would no longer be available, and therefore the moratorium does not suit the personal interests of officials.

Both unions, as well as several community based groups and the South African Communist Party, have consistently opposed the iGoli 2002 plan for more than one year now. Unfortunately, all efforts to negotiate around problematic aspects of the plan have been stalled by Council's refusal to bargain, and lately by Council's refusal to uphold the moratorium on implementation proclaimed on June 22nd by the MEC for Local Government, Trevor Fowler.

Some of the grounds on which the unions oppose iGoli 2002 are:

  • There is financial mismanagement and wastage in the city which cannot be remedied by privatising or corporatising assets. For example, Council overspent by R25 million this year and the Auditor General has not been able to balance Johannesburg's bookd for three years in a row.
  • The money that is overspent is being wasted on international consultants (R50 million in 14 months) and massive salaries for top executives (R800 000 per year each for the new Managing Directors of the Zoo, Market, Bus Services and Civic Theatre, excluding performance bonuses).
  • There is no attempt to extend services - township residents are only promised pit toilets, while public buses increase in price and decrease in quality.
  • Rates have increased across the board at 15,5% whereas the poor of Johannesburg are not getting quality services for their money.

The Council has refused to negotiate around any of these concerns. SAMWU has tabled notice to strike in Johannesburg starting July 11th 2000, unless this week's Bargaining Council manages to resolve the current impasse.


For comment please call Anna Weekes on 083 7141899

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