Mogale city reaches agreement with workers

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Municipal workers in the Mogale City municipality on Gauteng’s Westrand are expected to return to their posts following a breakthrough in talks over the lockdown payment dispute.

Essential services workers in the municipality working in the supply and maintenance of water and electricity infrastructure and traffic officers embarked on a go-slow from last week, demanding to be incentivised for working during the national lockdown.

They also wanted the municipal management to provide them with personal protective equipment.

Workers downed tools, burnt tyres and bins in front of the entrance into the municipality offices in Kagiso west of Johannesburg, demanding to be paid extra for risking their lives and exposing themselves to the risk of contracting COVID-19 as they continue to work during the lockdown.

They were represented during the talks with the municipality management by municipal workers unions, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU).

SAMWU’s Justice Nkomo says, “We are supposed to be briefing our members first, ideally we must brief them first and we will tell. However, we have found each other, they’ve committed to our demand, we must just take feedback so that we can get a mandate.”

Mogale City municipality spokesperson Lucky Sele says in terms of the agreement reached, workers are going to be given an incentive for working during the lockdown period.

REPORT: Municipal workers in Mogale City go back to work after striking over an incentive for working during the lockdown

Sele says, “The workers are going to be given an incentive for offering their services during COVID-19. Now, if an employee has worked overtime, a normal overtime of working weekends, they will still get paid under normal circumstances as part of their salary. The incentive will be added on top of the work that they have been providing..”

On the issue of personal protective equipment Nkomo says if they don’t receive adequate PPE’s they will stop working.

He says, “We can’t work in a municipality that is not compliant because we will be putting our lives in danger. Screening must happen regularly, masks must be given regularly, gloves must be given regularly, sanitizers must be given regularly. If those things don’t happen we are not prepared to go back to work.”

However, Sele says workers are being provided with protective gear on an ongoing basis.

The go-slow has led to services grounding to a halt in a number of areas leaving residents without electricity and water for days in some areas. Sele says they are doing everything to attend to the situation.

“In one area, the residents did not have electricity over the weekend – in another area, the residents did not have water.  We are hoping as soon as the employees are able to return to work, they’ll be able to restore services. But it has really affected the residents of Mogale City badly and we are really disappointed that things had to get to this point,” Sele added.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubele says no damage to property was reported and no arrests were made.

In the video below, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi gives guidelines to workers returning to work.


Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi earlier in May instructed employers to incur the cost of complying with COVID-19 as more businesses return to work from Monday.

He ordered all employers to provide their employees with personal protective equipment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nxesi said, “Workers must wear masks at work. Employers must require members of the public entering the workplace to wear masks. Employers must provide each employee free of charge with at least two cloth masks to wear whilst at work or commuting. They must be suitable for washing and drying. Ultimately, the employer remains responsible for maintenance and upkeep of employees.”