IMATU HALTS RETRENCHMENT PROCESS AT INKOSI LANGALIBALELE MUNICIPALITY

The Independent Municipal and Allied Workers Union (IMATU) met with members of the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality management team on Monday and succeeded in halting the intended mass retrenchment of municipal workers.

“The municipality was placed under Administration by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in 2017 and its financial problems have gotten progressively worse. The Administrator, who initiated this mass retrenchment process, resigned in December 2018. While a new Administrator has been appointed, he was not in attendance at the meeting,” explained KwaZulu Natal Regional Manager, Cathi Botes

The Municipality’s organogram makes provision for close to 1000 employees, while it currently only employs 598 people and intends to retrench 248 of these employees.

IMATU met with municipal representatives to oppose the retrenchments and encourage the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality to reduce expenditure by addressing the real problem of poor financial planning and management.

“As a result of IMATU’s intervention, the retrenchment process has been suspended. We are in the process of securing a meeting with the new Administrator to ensure that all parties are sufficiently briefed and understand the various options available to improve service delivery and retain jobs. Despite being a relatively newly amalgamated municipality, Inkosi Langalibalele carries much historical debt to service providers such as Eskom and the local water board. This month Cabinet will consider a detailed implementation plan to assist utilities reduce debt, increase collection and ultimately improve the potential income generation of municipalities,” stated Botes.

Municipalities are constitutionally mandated to provide services to communities in a sustainable manner. The municipal workforce is pivotal in ensuring the provision of these services and the salaries of workers must be provided for in any municipality’s budget.

“IMATU will vehemently oppose any threats to the conditions of service or job security of our members. Retrenchment of workers is a short-term solution to the systemic problems facing so many of our municipalities. A clear, sustainable solution must be found that addresses inefficiencies but most importantly tackles the real problems of poor planning, intermittent leadership and financial irregularities,” concluded Botes.

IMATU OPPOSES MASS RETRENCHMENT AT INKOSI LANGALIBALELE MUNICIPALITY

The Independent Municipal and Allied Workers Union (IMATU) will today oppose the mass retrenchment of municipal workers at the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality in Kwa Zulu Natal.

“The Municipality’s organogram makes provision for close to 1000 employees, while it currently only employs 598 people and intends to retrench 248 of these employees. This is a blatant attempt by the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality to reduce expenditure by downsizing municipal staff as opposed to addressing the real problem of poor financial management. IMATU is aware of specific instances of mismanagement and despite our claims being substantiated by the Auditor General’s report, no attempts have been made by the Administrators to improve accountability or implement consequences for poor performance or dereliction of duty,” explained eThekwini Regional Manager, Cathi Botes.

The municipality was established in 2016 after the amalgamation of the Imbabazane and uMtshezi local municipalities. Despite its fairly new establishment, the municipality was placed under Administration by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in 2017 and its financial woes have only gotten worse.

Last year the Municipality sought to unilaterally adjust and deduct employees’ salaries, thereafter it claimed that it was not able to pay any annual increases and most recently the Municipality has advised that it is intent on reducing its workforce. As a result of IMATU’s intervention workers have been protected, however no tangible effort has been made by the Administrators to produce sustainable solutions.

“Municipal management should be focused on addressing their unsustainable financial practices instead of attempting to retrench half their workforce which will directly affect service delivery. A recent example of flagrant financial waste is the outsourcing of security contracts to ‘protect’ the very councillors who are failing their communities and now threatening workers with unemployment. It has been reported to IMATU that some councillors have been assigned up to three personal protection agents, an excessive cost for a financially distressed municipality intent on retrenching half of its workforce,” stated Botes.

Municipalities are constitutionally mandated to provide services to communities in a sustainable manner. The municipal workforce is pivotal in ensuring the provision of these services and the salaries of workers must be provided for in any municipality’s budget. Despite claims made last year by the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality that they could not afford annual salary increases, IMATU can confirm that the municipality’s financial statements reflected R 131 688 000 surplus in 2017-18 financial year.

“IMATU will vehemently oppose any threats to the conditions of service or job security of our members. Retrenchment of workers is a short-tern solution to the systemic problems facing so many of our municipalities. A clear, sustainable solution must be found that addresses inefficiencies but most importantly tackles the real problems of poor management and financial irregularities,” concluded Botes.

Members will be kept updated of any developments in this regard.

NATIONAL SHOP STEWARD RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN (1 FEBRUARY – 30 NOVEMBER 2019)

As part of the National Recruitment and Retention Strategy this year, the National Office would like to identify and reward IMATU’s top shop steward recruiters.

As this is a pilot project, the costs will be borne by the National Office.

Recruitment figures from 1 February – 30 November 2019 will be tallied to determine the top candidates. Prizes will be awarded to the top shop steward recruiter(s) for each Region, provided they meet minimum recruitment requirements. Qualifying recruiters will also be entered into a lucky draw system to receive monetary prizes.

This campaign will be limited to recruitment by shop stewards. All recruitment figures must be recorded monthly via the correct Regional Shop Steward Recruitment Report.

1. CAMPAIGN

1.1 Date of Campaign

The campaign will run from 1 February – 30 November 2019.

1.2 Target

The target is for each shop steward to recruit a minimum of 10 (ten) members during the campaign.

1.3 Recruitment of EPWP, Interns, Apprentices and Other Temporary Workers

Changes to the local government landscape and growing competition for new members has necessitated the recruitment of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers, Contract workers, Interns, Apprentices and other temporary workers, hereafter all referred to as “temporary workers”.

The recruitment of temporary and/or allied workers will be permitted to count towards a recruiter’s total recruitment figures during national campaign periods. Therefore, all members that are recruited during a campaign period will be counted towards a recruiter’s total figure however, the Region must reflect permanent employees and temporary workers separately in their monthly membership statistics. All temporary members recruited must be captured and displayed in the ‘Allied’ row of the monthly membership recruitment report.

Regional Managers are reminded of the guidelines for the recruitment of temporary workers, as set out in the SOP circulated on 13 December 2016. While the Region is not paying over any additional incentive to recruiters, recruitment and loan practises must adhere to the stipulated guidelines provided.

1.4 Metro vs non-Metro Regions

It has been noted by the National Executive Council that recruiters based in Metropolitan areas or large cities have a proximity advantage over recruiters operating in the non-Metro areas with vast geographical spaces between relatively small municipalities. Further challenges to recruiters based in non-Metro areas include limited new entrants to the sector and smaller pools of possible members.

In a bid to address this discrepancy, top recruiters will be divided into individuals recruiting in a Metro area (i.e. City of Joburg, City of Cape Town, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, City of Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Buffalo City Metro, Mangaung), and non-Metro areas. Recruiters from non-Metro areas will also be set smaller recruitment targets for the purposes of qualification and awarding of top recruitment prizes.

1.5 Incentive

Recruiters will be incentivised by individual cash rewards.

Qualifying recruitment targets have been set in order to make targets attainable as well as encouraging maximum participation.

2. COMPETITION

2.1 Prizes for the best recruiters per Region

Metro Recruiters

The shop steward, based in a Metropolitan area, who recruits the highest number of members in his/her Region during the period of the campaign, provided that they have recruited a minimum of 40 (forty) members each, will be awarded a cash prize of R 5000.

Non-Metro Recruiters

The shop steward, based in a non-Metropolitan area, who recruits the highest number of members in his/her Region during the period of the campaign, provided that they have recruited a minimum of 20 (twenty) members each, will be awarded a cash prize of R 5000.

2.2 Lucky draw

There will also be 40 lucky draw prizes:

R 1 500 each will be given to twenty (20) Metro and twenty (20) non-Metro recruiters who have recruited at least 15 new members each, during the campaign period.

CITY OF TSHWANE REFUSES TO PAY PENSIONERS POST-RETIREMENT MEDICAL AID CONTRIBUTIONS

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade (IMATU) is appalled at the City of Tshwane’s treatment of its retired employees. IMATU believes that the refusal to contribute towards the post –retirement medical aid contributions of pensioners is a direct attack on the well-being of pensioners and the old aged.

In December last year, IMATU was victorious in confirming the contractual obligation of the City of Tshwane to continue contributing towards the monthly premiums of its pensioner members after retirement.

“The North Gauteng High Court handed down judgement in the IMATU & Others v City of Tshwane & Others matter, ordering the City to continue contributing towards post-retirement medical aid contributions of our members. To date the City has refused to comply and we received notice last week that they have filed an application for leave to appeal the aforementioned judgement.

Despite slim margins for success, the City is determined to delay the process and negate the contractual rights of pensioners in respect of post-retirement medical aid contributions. Many of those affected dedicated years of their lives in service to the council, only to be side-lined and denied in retirement”, stated the IMATU Tshwane Regional Manager, Rudy de Bruyn.

IMATU was first alerted to this serious problem when pensioners stopped receiving employer post-retirement medical aid contributions, and employees close to retirement were advised that medical aid contributions from the City of Tshwane would cease once they went on retirement.

“The issue of post-retirement medical aid is a complex problem affecting a large number of local government employees. Due to varying conditions of service pre-dating the Local Government Transition Act and subsequent national collective agreements, IMATU has had to support pensioners on a case by case basis,” explained de Bruyn.

Prior to the 2003 South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) Medical Aid Collective Agreement, local government employees were expected to select an accredited medical aid scheme and remain with this service provider for the duration of their employment. The agreement made it possible for all local government employees to migrate, during an annual window period, between accredited medical aid schemes.

While the onus fell on the employer (municipality) to inform both employees and pensioners of this “choice of movement on an annual basis before 1 January”, the City of Tshwane failed to inform employees belonging to the Pretmed scheme that resignation and movement to other accredited scheme would also terminate any post-retirement medical aid subsidy from the employer.

Employees therefore freely moved between accredited medical aid schemes, unaware of any potential prejudice or disadvantage.

The Judgement correctly noted that the contractual entitlement to a post-retirement medical aid subsidy for former City Council of Pretoria (CCP) employees was never contingent upon employees remaining members of Pretmed, or its successors. As a party to the Medical Aid Collective Agreement, the City of Tshwane accepted the principle of movement between accredited schemes that resulted in “an amendment or alteration of the terms and conditions of employment with regard to medical aid schemes”.

The City of Tshwane was therefore ordered by the North Gauteng High Court to continue to contribute towards the monthly medical aid premiums of the pensioners, as provided for by the medical aid collective agreement at the rate agreed to by the parties from time to time.

The IMATU Tshwane Office is in the process of consulting affected members and ascertaining numbers for future challenges.

“IMATU’s mandate is to act in the best interests of all of our members. This case affects former and current members who have served this municipality and the people of Tshwane over a considerable period of time. Not only is the payment of entitled medical aid subsides the right thing to do, it is an expected decency afforded to the aged and those retiring in an economy of escalating living costs,” concluded de Bruyn.

IMATU REMAINS CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASING LIVING COSTS AFTER INTEREST RATES REMAIN UNCHANGED

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) remains concerned about South Africa’s economic outlook after the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) decision to keep the repurchasing rate unchanged.

“While we acknowledge the Monetary Policy Committee’s mandate to manage inflationary increases, we remain concerned about our country’s poor domestic growth forecasts and escalating unemployment figures. Despite a decrease in the fuel price, many consumers remain cash-strapped, financially burdened and indebted. At the previous meeting of the Reserve Bank last year, indication was given that South Africa would be entering the beginning of an interest rate hiking cycle. Future interest rate increases coupled with recent requests by Eskom for 15% tariff increase over the next three years will place unbearable financial pressure on consumers,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU believe that the serious concerns regarding domestic policy certainty, decisive implementation and the creation of employment opportunities must be addressed if the South African Government wishes to effect positive economic growth.

“Notwithstanding other negative shocks, we as a country have the ability to address some of the factors directly affecting inflation. Our government has got to tackle financial mismanagement, corruption and ineffective leadership in order to foster an environment of inclusive growth and increased employment,” stated Koen.

IMATU ATTENDS SALGA NATIONAL MEMBERS ASSEMBLY

IMATU President, Stanley Khoza is currently attending the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) National Members Assembly (NMA) being held in Durban from 10 -12 December 2018.

IMATU believes that an event of this nature creates a necessary platform to identify the key challenges facing local government and collectively decide how the various stakeholders will effectively address these challenges.

“IMATU welcomes the President, Cyril Ramaphosa’s assertion that organised labour must be treated as an ally of the local government development agenda. Local government capacity must be improved, this can be achieved by attracting and retaining new skills as well as upskilling and further developing the current local government workforce. Local government employees must also be equipped with the necessary skills, tools and resources to do their work,” explained IMATU President, Stanley Khoza.

IMATU recently hosted its Mid-term Conference where the organisation took the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate its achievements as well as take stock of what still needs to be achieved going forward.

“IMATU has seen increased and consistent growth in both membership and female representation on our elected structures. We recognised the need to actively empower our female members and provide the necessary support for them to assume their rightful voice in a workplace often dominated by men. We currently represent just under 100 000 members, with a 40% female representation target throughout our decision making structures,” he stated.

Similarly, IMATU believes that with decisive leadership, adequate planning, support and integration, municipalities can positively affect growth and development within our communities. and service delivery.

“While this conference will discuss some of the factors contributing to poor service delivery, the need for infrastructure maintenance and how we can create more jobs, it is important for all parties to acknowledge that we need to do better for our people. As our President correctly pointed out, when it comes to our country’s development, local government is the difference between failure and success,” concluded Khoza.

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SALGBC Circular 9/2018: Unrecognised Minority Trade Unions Seeking Organisational Rights at Municipal Level

agreementThe SALGBC issued a circular yesterday, endorsed by IMATU, SAMWU and SALGA, to all municipalities to address the issue of unrecognised minority trade unions seeking organisational rights at municipal level.

This comes as unrecognised trade unions have increasingly been using the constitutional court judgement in POPCRU v South African Correctional Services Workers’ Union and Others to convince municipalities to enter into recognition agreements for organisational rights with them.

The key aspects of the circular are the following:

  • The threshold for recognition in the sector is a membership of 15% of all employees under the scope of the SALGBC. This is a national threshold.
  • A trade union can only conclude agreements for organisational rights if it meets that 15% threshold.
  • The only recognised trade unions in the sector are IMATU and SAMWU.
  • Municipalities should not enter into recognition agreements with any unrecognised minority trade union.
  • The recent Constitutional Court judgement in POPCRU v South African Correctional Services Workers’ Union and Others, does not create an obligation on any Municipality to enter into recognition agreements with unrecognised minority trade unions.
  • If an unrecognised minority trade union seeks statutory organisational rights, it should refer a dispute in terms of section 21(c) of the LRA.
  • The SALGBC parties (SALGA, IMATU and SAMWU) oppose the proliferation of multiple trade unions in the sector.
  • Municipalities, as members of SALGA, should minimise and oppose the proliferation of multiple trade unions in the sector.
  • The potential danger of entering into recognition agreements with unrecognised minority trade unions was illustrated in the case of Buffalo City Municipality.
  • Municipal employees are reminded that unrecognised minority trade unions such as MATUSA and DEMAWUSA cannot bargain collectively for them. Collective agreements can only be  negotiated and entered into with IMATU and SAMWU.
  • Employees who join unrecognised minority trade unions are still be liable to pay Agency Shop fees as well as the subscription fees to their union. The court has recently confirmed that the
  • Agency Shop collectively agreement is binding on all municipalities and employees who are not members of IMATU and SAMWU.

SALGBC Circular 9/2018 can be viewed here

IMATU STANDS AGAINST THE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

IMATU, together with many South Africans, has taken a pledge to oppose the abuse of women and children. While we support the international 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, taking place from 25 November – 10 December, we believe that this promise must be upheld and actioned all year round.

Our members are continually encouraged to report abuse, support survivors and volunteer where possible. This year, as part of our organisation’s commitment to stop abuse and gender-based violence, IMATU has made a donation to People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA). A non-profit organisation based in Berea, Johannesburg.

POWA established the first shelter in 1981, the first of its kind that accommodated women and their children. The main objective of the shelter is to provide a safe, therapeutic environment, were abused women can begin to deal with their situations and receive the necessary support. Presently POWA has two shelters situated in the East and West Rand and a 2nd Stage House. Survivors are accommodated for up to a year. This organisation provides professional services that comprise of advocacy, training, psycho-social support, legal and sheltering to survivors of violence.

POWA is committed to enhancing the quality of life of all women and girls and has expanded its capacity building efforts to assisting emerging organisations in Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces, which in turn leads to better access for women from rural and under-resourced areas.

Our members are encouraged to wear white ribbons in support of 16 Days of Activism (25 November-10 December 2018), create an environment at work that enables victims to report abuse, increase awareness, engage around the difficult topic of gender violence and celebrate survivors.

IMATU is proud to support this initiative and encourage our members to continue taking a stand against all forms of violence and abuse.

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IMATU DISAPPOINTED BY INTEREST RATE INCREASE

salaryThe Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is disappointed by the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) decision to increase the current repurchasing rate by 0.25%.

“While we acknowledge the Monetary Policy Committee’s mandate to manage inflationary increases, this decision will further constrain domestic growth and place consumers under even more pressure just before Christmas. Like all South Africans, our members are already feeling the financial pinch of increasing living costs, undue fuel cost increases, growing debt and decreasing disposable income. Increased interest rates put excessive and unaffordable pressure on workers,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU further noted with concern that a number of the factors listed by the SARB Governor for this increase, pertain to domestic policy certainty, decisive implementation and the creation of employment opportunities. “Notwithstanding other negative shocks, we as a country have the ability to address some of the factors directly affecting inflation. Our government has got to tackle financial mismanagement, corruption and ineffective leadership in order to foster an environment of growth and increased employment,” stated Koen.

IMATU SUPPORTS PEOPLE OPPOSING WOMEN ABUSE (POWA)

As we start focusing our advocacy efforts ahead of the international campaign 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, and as part of our continual commitment to stop this gender-based violence IMATU has made a donation to People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA). A non-profit organisation based in Berea, Johannesburg.

POWA established the first shelter in 1981, the first of its kind that accommodated women and their children. The main objective of the shelter is to provide a safe, therapeutic environment, were abused women can begin to deal with their situations and receive the necessary support. Presently POWA has two shelters situated in the East and West Rand and a 2nd Stage House. Survivors are accommodated for up to a year. This organisation provides professional services that comprise of advocacy, training, psycho-social support, legal and sheltering to survivors of violence.

POWA is committed to enhancing the quality of life of all women and girls and has expanded its capacity building efforts to assisting emerging organisations in Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces, which in turn leads to better access for women from rural and under-resourced areas.

Our members are encouraged to wear white ribbons in support of 16 Days of Activism (25 November-10 December 2018), create an environment at work that enables victims to report abuse, increase awareness, engage around the difficult topic of gender violence and celebrate survivors.

IMATU and it’s members are proud to support this organisation and the important work it does!

Please follow this link for more information about the organisation and what they do https://www.powa.co.za/POWA/