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SAFTU and #OutSourcingMustFall movement celebrate victory in Johannesburg

The South African Federation of Trade Unions warmly welcomes the announcement by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba that the jobs of 4 000 security workers are to be insourced and that a similar process will be started for workers contracted to provide cleaning services.

This is a great victory for SAFTU and #OutSourcingMustFall who had numerous marches and demonstrations. The last march was held on 14 December 2017 to the Gauteng Premier’s and the to the Mayor’s office to demand, among others, that the Gauteng government and the municipality employ all workers – including security staff, cleaners, landscapers and others – permanently, and that all workers who were recently retrenched through the termination of contracts with service providers be reinstated.

The Gauteng Premier had earlier in the year promised that come the end of 2017 there will be no outsourcing in Gauteng. We intend to engage with the Premier and hold more demonstrations to ensure that he delivers on this promise.

Mashaba had announced the insourcing of security services in his State of the City address in May 2017. He noted that it cost R360 million for the City’s security services and that the City is effectively paying R14 000 per security guard, while the guards themselves received a salary of as little as R4 500 per month

He admitted that due to the complexities of local government regulations, cases of corruption, contractual commitments and legal considerations, the time taken to implement this process had been considerable. But now he has responded to the pressure from workers to honour that promise.

This is the second big victory for Johannesburg workers. Midrand municipal workers sacked 24 years ago now have the opportunity to be re-employed by the Johannesburg City Council and six have so far started work, says Stena Molepo, convener of the group.

He is now appealing to those surviving members who have moved to other parts of the country to make contact and to submit their names and work history (CVs). Families of deceased members of the group should also make contact and provide all relevant details.

This information will be used both for job applications and to include in the ongoing inquiries into provident and pension funds that may not have been paid and that are owing to the sacked workers and their families. The group of Johannesburg-based former Midrand workers meets every Sunday.

SAFTU condemns the pathetic statement issued by the ANC Caucus on the Johannesburg council, which complains that “the council failed to undertake an extensive process of ensuring the smooth integration of these security personnel into the City, as well as guaranteeing the financial sustainability of the entire operation”.

They say that the ANC caucus in the council unanimously supported the motion to insource the workers, but that now “with the current financial constraints faced by the City in the current financial year, the implementation of this would be virtually impossible which would result in workers not being compensated for their hard labour.

“The statement issued by the DA-EFF coalition lacks the necessary detail on whether a study was conducted to ensure the feasibility of insourcing workers. The Public Safety Committee has not been informed the budget to implement the insourcing and where the money for salaries and tools of trade such as uniforms, guns, protective gear and radios which are currently provided by security companies will come from…

“Unless the City’s budget is revised downwards it will be extremely difficult to insource the 4000 security personal… We also call on the DA to desist from its attempts to try to appease its coalition partner, EFF, at the expense of the working class and the people of Johannesburg as a whole.”

Such bureaucratic and nit-picking arguments illustrate perfectly what the ANC has now become – a counter-revolutionary, conservative force in which workers can no longer have any confidence that it will fight for their interests. On the contrary this sour and negative response to a great workers’ victory shows they are their class enemies.

SAFTU is proud to have played such a leading role in this triumph for not just 4000 workers but all outsourced workers, in both the public and private sectors, and will continue with its campaign for a complete end to outsourcing and to demand:

All employers in the public service must employ all staff directly and provide medical aid and provident fund benefits;
Increase wages to at least R10 000 a month;
Equal pay for work of equal value;
A ban on the use of labour brokers;
Democratically elected workers’ representatives to sit on all the committees managing the insourcing process at every level of government;
The scrapping of the expanded public works programme, and community work programme