Strike to affect water supply

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 August 2010

The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) threatened on Friday to create a “serious water crisis”, saying their members in the water sector would go on strike on Monday.

“There is a dispute nationally between Samwu, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, Nehawu, and the SA Association of Water Utilities,” Samwu national spokesman Tahir Sema said on Friday.

He said the employer organisation, the South African Association of Water Utilities (Saawu), has offered the unions a nine percent wage increase, while they wanted between 11 and 13.5 percent.

“We rejected the nine percent offer and will go on strike on Monday, which means that the water supply throughout the country will be affected.”

He said about 50,000 workers, from administrators to mechanics and technicians, would strike. Sema could, however, not give an indication to what extent the industrial action would affect water supply to consumers.

“The water supply will be affected, but we can’t say to which degree. That will only be assessed once the strike starts.” Distribution of water to municipalities would be affected. “If water workers strike, the tap is closed.”

Sema advised the government, through Saawu, to return to the negotiating table and “negotiate a proper increase in good faith”.

“We advise them to concede to workers’ demands, which are both legitimate and reasonable.” Sema said union members were also upset because managers had received “hefty salary hikes”, while ordinary workers have not had an increase at all in more than a year.

Saawu represents 18 water boards. It could not immediately be reached for comment.


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