LABOUR: Workers Acting In Bad Faith
Recent Western Cape Business News
MUNICIPAL workers unions were bargaining in bad faith by going back on a three-year deal concluded last year, says Michael Bagraim, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
He said the agreement set out the conditions for any reopening of negotiations (such as a rise in the inflation rate) and, in terms of that agreement, the unions had no case to demand new negotiations or to go on strike.
“What we are seeing is a completely unjustified strike. Not only does it break the three-year agreement, but the demand for an 18 percent increase is outrageous. Municipal workers in a City like Cape Town are among the best paid workers in the country. They are the working elite and all our sympathy should be with the unemployed and not people who have secure, well paid jobs with excellent benefits,” Bagraim said.
The front line of the strike would be the refuse collection service and Bagraim said the wages and benefits of these municipal workers should be compared with those paid to workers who did the same job for private sector companies which provided refuse removal services on a contract basis. “The companies pay the market rate for the job and I challenge the municipal unions to explain why their members deserve better wages and benefits.”
He urged the City to make more use of private contractors as this would provide a more cost-effective and reliable service.
“When you see demands for increases of 18 percent or more than three times the inflation rate it tells you that the unions have too much power and that the City should seek to restore a healthy balance by making greater use of alternate service providers.”
He called on City authorities to take disciplinary action against any workers who obstructed refuse collection or used violence or the threats of violence to further their cause.
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