Parow cleansing depot workers facing salary cuts, says union

Cloete Street in Parow is filled with rubbish.

A municipal union has raised its concerns that workers at the Parow cleansing depot are not being paid when they are in quarantine. The City, however, has denied this.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said they had registered another complaint about the way the City of Cape Town was treating its employees. Samwu said the Parow (Welgelegen) solid waste depot was closed recently due to a Covid-19 positive case and workers were told they would not be paid during the closure.

Samwu said this follows a previous incident at the Ndabeni by-law enforcement unit when their members were told that they would not be paid for the time they had to stay at home while the City was purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mayco member for waste and water Xanthea Limberg, however, denied this, saying that workers were placed on special leave and were paid during quarantine. She added that the Parow depot had been closed since the start of lockdown, but was being used as a satellite depot for collection and vehicles. She said it was also being reserved as a back-up facility that could be reopened should another site need to be closed for decontamination. Ms Limberg did not provide dates when the Welgelegen depot was closed due to a Covid-19 positive case.  

Samwu regional secretary Mikel Khumalo showed Northern News correspondence between City of Cape Town manager Lungelo Mbandazayo and head of its labour relations department, Ashley Lawrence, dated Monday June 15. It said that Parow staff would be paid reduced salaries for the period between Monday June 8 to Friday June 12.

Further inquiries to the City’s media office were responded to by director of communications Priya Reddy who said employees’ salaries had been cut because they had defied their line management and had not worked from Friday March 27 to Thursday April 30. 

On Saturday June 21 Samwu said it would declare mass disputes to the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC).

“We are also not ruling out a possible mass action which might be very soon because our members are frustrated and their families are suffering due to this non-payment of salaries.

When Northern News asked SALGBC for comment, Western Cape regional secretary Wilma Brink, said all SALGBC disputes were private and confidential and only awards were open for the public. “Therefore I am unable to discuss any issue with the public or press,” said Ms Brink.