THE newspapers reported extensively, but not accurately on the issue of the library and traffic workers' go-slow strike in support of the proposed four notch increases promised to them by the mayor and his task team, as well as the DA's subsequent attendance at council related meetings.
The facts are as follows: During a council meeting on July 24 the council chamber was invaded by the council workers from Uitenhage and Despatch.
The councillors were held hostage and received no protection from the council's security departments.
They were forced into a situation where the workers demanded pay parity increases before being released. The DA has approached MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane to intervene and to ensure that these resolutions are not implemented and to date he has not acted.
The current go-slow strike by library and traffic department workers was caused by the mayor and his task team making an offer which has proved to be illegal, and has now resulted in a physical threat to councillors to enforce the illegal pay increases by intimidating the councillors.
The DA subsequently took a balanced and conscious decision to not legalise an unfunded and illegal decision by the mayor and his task team. The decision to not stay in council during the salary increases item was not solely a safety issue, but a decision to not allow the ANC to use our numbers to quorate council and force the illegal items through.
It has now become clear that the mayor's task team undertaking to grant four notch increases was unrealistic, and that only three workers from the traffic department will benefit.
The only correct procedure is to apply the TASK grading system which will afford the workers the correct pay grades.
The DA will never allow itself to be intimidated or forced into an illegal and unlawful situation, and will at all times abide by the relevant legislation.
If the ruling party succeeds in passing these illegal pay increases, it will not solve the current dispute as all other staff will merely demand the same increases which are clearly not affordable.
What is even more disgusting is that the municipality called for a legal opinion from a top local advocate who confirms that these proposals are unlawful and if implemented would be regarded as fruitless, wasteful and unauthorized expenditure and yet the mayor wants to proceed with his proposals.
It is clear that by preventing these proposals the DA is part of the solution.
Leon de Villiers, leader of the official opposition – Nelson Mandela Bay Metro