The APF fully supports the ongoing strike by municipal workers for a decent, living wage

Tuesday 28th July 2009

The APF fully supports the ongoing strike by municipal workers for a decent, living wage

Poorly paid municipal workers along with massive job vacancies and managerial corruption = poor service delivery

The Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) and its 30+ community affiliates fully supports the ongoing strike by municipal workers across the country, led by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU). The workers demands for a 15% wage increase, the filling of the almost 100 000 vacant positions at municipal level and the rooting out of corruption and mismanagement are all completely legitimate and reasonable.

The living wage demand is simply that. In the context of rising basic food, electricity, transport, and health costs, not to mention the knock-on effects of the global and domestic capitalist crisis, it is ordinary workers who have seen their standards of living decrease dramatically. A 15 % rise in wages will do nothing more than provide municipal workers with a basic, living wage. It is more than outrageous for government officials and big business (alongside their various cheerleaders) to claim that such a demand is unaffordable and that workers must continue to accept the very ‘sacrifices’ that they themselves are unwilling to accept.

The further demands to fill the huge amount of vacant posts at municipal level and to root out managerial corruption is simply a call for government to fulfil its democratic mandate to the people. How can there be effective, efficient and sustained delivery of public services when there are so few permanent workers trying to do their jobs? Indeed, the continued protests of poor communities across the country – which have now been going on for many years – are directly linked to the continued exploitation of municipal workers, the failure to adequately staff municipalities and ongoing managerial corruption.

The APF joins SAMWU and IMATU in their calls on the government to immediately accede to the wage demands of the striking municipal workers and to embark on sustained recruitment of permanent workers at the local level as well as show the political will to act against managerial corruption and arrogance. As part of the ‘army of the unemployed’, the APF also calls on our communities to support the strike and to tolerate the temporary disruption in the delivery of services. The millions who have no job and who live in grinding poverty have common cause with the striking workers. Let us not fall into the capitalist trap of blaming the workers and poor for responding actively to their own oppression.


For further comment/information contact: Dale on 072 429-4086