IMATU COMES TO THE ASSISTANCE OF THE VULNERABLE IN MAKANA MUNICIPALITY

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is dismayed by the current water crisis in Makhanda and the ongoing suffering caused to community members.

As part of its social responsibility programme, IMATU will be supplying drinking water to Home of Joy and McKaizer Old Age Home in Makhanda, as well as contributing to the intervention efforts of Gift of the Givers.

“It is hugely important for IMATU and its members to support and serve our communities. Our shop stewards identified Home of Joy and McKaizer Old Age Home as organisations caring for vulnerable members of our society and most in need of our help. We are in a position to assist with short-term relief, but also believe that sustainable solutions must be found to provide water security for Makhanda residents in the future. IMATU has therefore also pledged R13 000 towards the sinking of boreholes and installing of filtration systems via our donation to Gift of the Givers,” explained IMATU Eastern Cape Regional Manager, Churchill Mothapo.

Makhanda, formerly known as Grahamstown, declared a local state of disaster on 25 February 2019 amidst ongoing water shortages. The town’s water supply has been erratic for a long time, but the situation worsened at the start of this year due to the regional draught and lack of water supply infrastructure maintenance.

“Despite several political resignations, replacements and a newly elected Makana Mayor, our members have confirmed that the situation in Makhanda remains critical. Water cuts have disrupted households, businesses and places of learning, while also creating serious sanitation problems. While depleted dam levels have played a role, poor management, faltering leadership and a complete lack of maintenance of infrastructure has resulted in a water crisis. Our members want to be part of the solution but adequate resources must be channelled towards effective supply chain management, adequate procurement and the creation of a long-term strategy. Sustainable local government requires that the commitment of municipal employees must be met with political will and decisive leadership,” concluded Mothapo.

IMATU Eastern Cape Staff and Makhanda shop stewards will be handing over the organisation’s donations on Tuesday, 19 March 2019.

IMATU OPPOSES RETRENCHMENTS AT INKOSI LANGALIBALELE MUNICIPALITY

The Independent Municipal and Allied Workers Union (IMATU) will again meet with members of the Inkosi Langalibalele Municipality management team on Monday, 18 March 2019 at the Municipal Council Chambers. This engagement will be facilitated by the CCMA, discussions will relate to the financial status of the municipality and job security of employees.

IMATU succeeded in halting the intended mass retrenchment of municipal workers last month. While the Municipality’s organogram makes provision for close to 1000 employees, it currently only employs 598 people and gave notice of its intention to retrench 248 of these employees late last year.

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 the mass retrenchment process, resigned in December 2018. IMATU met with the newly appointed Administrator on 27 February 2019 to discuss the municipality’s current financial position.

“We hope that the employer has adequately reviewed its financial status and realised that the municipality needs to address wasteful expenditure and poor management instead of cutting jobs. Municipalities are constitutionally mandated to provide services to communities in a sustainable manner and the municipal workforce is pivotal in ensuring the provision of these services. The salaries of workers must be provided for in any municipality’s budget.” explained KwaZulu Natal Regional Manager, Cathi Botes

IMATU members will peacefully picket outside the Council Chambers during their lunch break to highlight the severity of their situation and the financial mismanagement that has been allowed to take place.

Date: 18 March 2019
Time: 12h30 – 13h00
Venue: Council Chambers, Civic Building, Victoria Street, Estcourt

“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 CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMAN’S DAY

Today marks International Women’s Day and we would like to take the opportunity to thank our strong, brave and dedicated female members.

IMATU is very proud of our increasing female membership and are working hard towards maintaining 40% female representation across our shop steward and leadership structures.

Thank you to the women of IMATU. Thank you for the role you play at work and the role you play at home.

This organisation is stronger for having your support.

IMATU COMMENTS ON SONA

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is in the process of reviewing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that was delivered last night.

“IMATU members, like all South Africans, are concerned by escalating living costs, unemployment, economic challenges, infrastructure needs and the provision of basic services. We welcome the President’s commitment to municipal infrastructure investment, economic recovery and strengthening the fight against systemic corruption and maladministration,” stated IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

While the President indicated that processes are underway to stabilise and support poorly performing municipalities, IMATU believes that increased interventions are needed. Decisive leadership, better oversight of supply chain management processes, appropriately skilled personnel and the implementation of the Auditor General’s recommendations will greatly assist in the combating of corruption and improvement of service delivery.

“As an organisation, we have already identified and discussed many of the challenges highlighted in this year’s SONA. Two of our key focus areas within the local government sector remain water and energy security. Municipalities are constitutionally mandated to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and are responsible for the supply of electricity and in many cases water to South African households,” explained Koen.

In this regard, IMATU applauds the President’s determination to confront the culture of non-payment that exists in some communities.

“Free basic electricity and access to water is imperative. It is however necessary to resolutely tackle the growing problem of municipal debt and poor payment recovery in the local government sector. In order to create a sustainable service delivery model, individuals and households will have to pay for these services when consuming over and above the stipulated free basic municipal allocation. This month Cabinet will consider a detailed implementation plan to assist utilities in reducing debt, increasing collection and ultimately improving the potential income generation of municipalities. We are hopeful that this process, coupled with strategies provided in the upcoming National Budget Speech, will provide a financial roadmap for local government recovery and success,” he concluded.

SPECIAL RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN (1 March – 30 April 2019)

As you will recall from Circular 2 of 2019, Regional Managers were requested to budget for two National Short Term Recruitment Campaigns that would be rolled out during 2019. This circular serves as a reminder that the first Special Short Term Recruitment Campaign of 2019 will take place from 1 March – 30 April 2019.

During this Campaign period, Regions will be required to pay recruiters the increased recruitment incentive referred to below for each individual recruited. The campaign will not be limited to recruitment by shop stewards and ordinary members must be encouraged to participate as well.

1. CAMPAIGN

1.1 Date of Campaign

The campaign will run from 1 March – 30 April 2019.

1.2 Target

The target is for each shop steward to recruit a minimum of 6 (six) 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”.

As of 2017, the recruitment of temporary and/or allied workers will be permitted to count towards a recruiter’s total recruitment figures during the national campaign periods. Therefore, all temporary workers recruited between 1 March – 30 April 2019 will be counted towards a recruiter’s total recruitment figures and possible prize ranking.

As stipulated in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): Recruitment of EPWP, Interns, Apprentices and other Temporary Workers, Regional staff members recording recruitment information are reminded that “the recruitment of temporary workers must be reflected in the ‘temporary workers’ category of all Regional membership statistics templates”. In other words, 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 stats. All temporary members recruited must be captured and displayed in the ‘Allied’ row of the monthly membership recruitment report.

Furthermore, Regional Managers are requested to ensure that the guidelines for the recruitment of temporary workers, as set out in the SOP circulated on 13 December 2016, are adhered to.

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 ‘platteland’ with vast geographical spaces between relatively small municipalities. In order to address this discrepancy, recruiters will be divided into individuals recruiting in a metropolitan 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.

1.5 Incentive

For each permanent member recruited, a recruitment incentive of R 200 will be paid to the recruiter by the Region concerned.

In the case of the recruitment of temporary workers, a recruitment incentive of R50 will be paid to the recruiter by the Region concerned.

2. COMPETITION

2.1 Prizes for the five best recruiters

The shop steward/member who recruits the highest, second, third, fourth and fifth highest number of members during the period of the campaign, provided that they have recruited a minimum of 45 (forty five) members each, will be awarded the following prizes in both the Metro and non-Metro categories:

Metro Regions Non-Metro Regions

1st Prize: R 8 000 cash prize 1st Prize: R 8 000 cash prize
2nd Prize: R 6 000 cash prize 2nd Prize: R 6 000 cash prize
3rd Prize: R 4 500 cash prize 3rd Prize: R 4 500 cash prize
4th Prize: R 3 500 cash prize 4th Prize: R 3 500 cash prize
5th Prize: R3 000 cash prize 5th Prize: R3 000 cash prize

2.2 Lucky draw

There will also be a lucky draw where 20 prizes will be given as follows:

R 2 500 each will be given to five (5) Metro and five (5) non-Metro recruiters who have recruited at least 20 new members each.

R1 500 each will be given to five (5) Metro and five (5) non-Metro recruiters who recruited at least 15 members each.

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.