KNYSNA NEWS - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has reached an agreement with Knysna Municipality to suspend its “Covid danger pay” strike after two days pending the outcome of further negotiations.
The municipal workers are demanding a once-off R25 000 danger allowance for front line workers, R15 000 to workers who came to work when requested in the face of the Covid-19 virus and R7 500 to all workers who worked during all levels of the lockdown.
According to Samwu Knysna branch chairman Shaun Kralo, their demands are based on a South African Local Government circular of 17/03/21. “Which states that the compensation must be made to all levels, from level five to level one.”
In a statement earlier today, Thursday 29 April, Knysna Mayor Elrick van Aswegen said Council has resolved to reach a compromise with municipal workers who had been staging an unsanctioned strike since Monday 26 April. “The illegal strike action will be suspended during further negotiations. A once-off ex gratia Covid-19 allowance will be paid to staff who worked during alert levels five and four. This is subject to affordability and ongoing talks with workers’ unions,” he said.
Kralo told KPH the strike did not start on Monday, but on Wednesday. “On Monday we went to demand feedback from the ANC and we went back to work.” He said that they decided to suspend the strike until Wednesday next week to allow space for negotiations.
According to Van Aswegen, all employees of Knysna Municipality received their full payment packages during the nationwide lockdown and its various alert levels.
He said draft Danger Allowance Policy was submitted to the Local Labour Forum (LLF) on 22 April. “The parties could not reach a consensus and the issue served as a matter before a special meeting of Council held on 29 April.” The administration will make the necessary calculations and revert to Council and the LLF.
“We are also evaluating how to address the concerns of our unhappy employees within the relevant legal frameworks,” he said.
Van Aswegen said the protest action has affected the town’s water and sanitation, roads and refuse collection units and apologised for any inconvenience it may have caused, as delivering these services is “one of our top priorities”.
“We appreciate and are grateful for all municipal employees’ loyalty and dedication to their duties during this global pandemic. We are confident that we can resolve this issue swiftly, legally, and to the benefit of all concerned,” he said.
'We bring you the latest Knysna, Garden Route news'