As the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) marches in support of workers on Friday‚ the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) is demanding that contract workers be employed by cities across the country.
“Samwu will be demanding the end of casualisation of work particularly in local government. Casualisation and privatising municipal services has resulted in exploitation of workers through the use of tenders and the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) ‚” Samwu said earlier this week.
“Samwu is of the view that EPWP workers are rendering municipal services and as such they should be employed directly and permanently by municipalities with all the benefits that municipal workers are currently enjoying.”
EPWP workers are known for their orange overalls and doing basic work such as cleaning the streets in cities and town across the country.
In a response to TMG Digital‚ the SA Local Government Association (Salga) said it “does not have an adopted policy position on the EPWP workers being permanently employed in municipalities”.
“Salga‚ however‚ subscribes to the notion of creating decent work opportunities in the municipal sector without necessarily placing a recommendation that EPWP workers should be permanently employed due to affordability and sustainability challenges confronting municipalities.”
The call by Samwu is seen as a tall order for Salga as the employer in the local government sphere. Placing thousands of EPWP workers on the local government payroll would have serious implications for towns and cities which are struggling to get revenue that matches the services being provided to residents.
But Samwu is adamant that municipalities across the country should employ all temporary workers permanently.
“This despite the recently amended Labour Relations Act‚ which clearly stipulates that any worker employed for a period longer than three months on a contract basis should automatically be employed on a permanent basis.
“We will therefore be using this day to campaign and demand the immediate and full implementation of the LRA by all municipalities‚” the union said.