Grootfontein municipality settles workers’ outstanding payments

Following a peaceful demonstration by the employees of the Grootfontein municipality demanding payment for their bonuses and an annual increment, the council has finally paid all its employees, the municipal spokesperson, Luke Salomo, has told The Villager. 

The municipality, however, declined to share how much they had paid out to all 20 workers.

“The payments were done and the council does not owe any worker at this stage. Every worker who qualify to get his or her 13th bonus is being paid according to the legal framework. Yes, at one stage council did owe the workers an outstanding increment which was backdated and I must say this was paid in full,” he said. 

He added that currently, the council only owes less than 20 of its employees over time payments but could not reveal how much the employees are owed due to a contractual agreement between the municipality and affected staff members. 

In 2015 all local authorities received a directive from the line ministry to repeal the granting of five-year bonus leave in the ministry’s reviewed condition of services, and this has brought some challenges, Salomo admitted.  

“That in itself is a challenge because some of the older staff members do have a contract with the municipality talking about the five-year bonus. But because of the directive, we had to adjust the working conditions of the staff members. The ministry issued a same directive in 2009 reminding all local authorities about the discontinuation of five-year bonus and free services”, he said.

He further said that the Grootfontein municipality will do everything in its power to avoid non-payment of employees in future.