Samwu threatens to strike over non-payment of municipal workers

According to the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), workers in as many as 30 muncipalities have not been paid for the month of June.


Samwu has warned municipalities of an imminent strike unless they fulfill their financial responsibilities to their staff.

Not a good week for municipalities

The news follows an announcement by Samwu earlier in the week that more than 30 municipalities had indicated that they were not going to be able to pay all of their staff for June.

“In another disturbing instance, workers at the Amahlathi Local Municipality have been told by municipal management that they will not be getting their June salaries and that they should only expect to be paid at the end of July,” the union said in a statement at the time.

In a meeting with Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Samwu was told national government was not aware of municipalities inability to pay their staff.

And while all of this was happening, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released a report showing that only 8% of municipalities around the country earned clean audits for the 2017/18 financial year.

In his reply to the debate on his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted concern about the state of some municipalities and revealed national government would be directly assisting 57 districts.

Threats of a strike

All this has led to Samwu wasting no time in skipping the negotiating stage and going straight to threats of strike action if salaries and other financial obligations are not paid to staff immediately.

“We view this as a deliberate and provoked attack by municipalities on workers and workers will respond appropriately by withdrawing their labour power to ensure that their families are fed and that their financial obligations are met,” the union said.

“Samwu, therefore, demands the immediate payment of all salaries of municipal workers that have not been paid yet.

“When workers go on strike, municipalities apply the no-work, no-pay principle. As a result, workers are determined to apply the no-pay, no-work principle until such time that their salaries reflect on their bank accounts.”