Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 16:22:15 +0200
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Anna Weekes <samwu@WN.APC.ORG>
Subject: SAMWU Statement: Waterboards wage negotiations stall
Waterboards wage negotiations stall
Friday May 19th, 2000 5pm
SAMWU's wage negotiations for workers in waterboards have stalled. At the
Rand Water Board, which provides bulk water services to Gauteng and parts of
the North West and Mpumalanga, SAMWU is disappointed to note that management
indicated that it was not prepared to respond to many of the demands placed
on the table, even though SAMWU had reduced the wage demand to 12.1% from
15% for support staff.
These workers are the backbone of the Rand Water Board and account for those
earning the lowest wages in the company. The demand for artisans and
operators was reduced to 10.6%. These workers although fewer in number
provide vital skills for the functioning of the Board.
Management tabled an offer of 6% that is 2.6% below the core inflation rate
of 8.6%. SAMWU has rejected this offer out of hand as it represents an
attempt to cut workers' wages in real terms. General meetings will be held
with members to assess what action can be taken to force management to grant
Should the next round of wage negotiations not produce an offer by
management that is acceptable to Samwu, we will be preparing to take action
in support of our demands. This will mean that water services in
Johannesburg and the rest of Gauteng, as well as Mpumalanga and North West,
will be disrupted.
At the Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (WSSA), the company
responsible for the privatisation of services in the Cape Metropolis and a
number of towns in the Eastern Cape, employers also failed to keep their
promises. "Their promise to workers was that improved benefits and salaries
would be the order of the day should workers agree to transfer to the
company from the local authority. This promise has been as difficult to
grasp as water running through one's fingers," said Collective Bargaining
Officer Dale Forbes late this afternoon.
Municipal workers will receive an increase of R230 or 6% on 1 July 2000. But
WSSA is only prepared to offer R200. The company has cited problems of
profitability at its operations. "Now the workers have to pay for the myth
that water is a profitable commodity," said Forbes adding that communities
need to be vigilant as the company is looking to cut costs and health and
safety standards could become a victim of cost-cutting. "SAMWU demands that
these water services be re-nationalised before the communities start
suffering," said Forbes.
Samwu has demanded increases between R295 and R250. This is to counter
management's attempts to divide workers at different plants by offering
different salary structures. Workers only get R1470 as a minimum wage, which
is below the national minimum of R1600. General meetings will be held by 5
June 2000. If management is unable to improve significantly by then, Samwu
will declare a dispute and prepare for industrial action.
For comment please contact Dale Forbes on 083 651 2959