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HomeNewsMhlathuze Water agrees to cough up back pay for staff housing allowance

Mhlathuze Water agrees to cough up back pay for staff housing allowance

Mhlathuze Water agrees to cough up back pay for staff housing allowance

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Richards Bay – The troubled Mhlathuze Water in northern KwaZulu-Natal has been forced to implement an arbitration ruling that will see it coughing up thousands of rand in staff housing allowance back pay.

The Richards Bay-based bulk water supplier which supplies the City of Mhlathuze (Mpangeni-Richards Bay) and big industries like RBM (Richards Bay Minerals) and Foskor, among others, was dilly-dallying until the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) told it to implement the ruling.

The workers, through their union, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have been fighting for the housing allowance, which they argue that the water company had withheld without any justification.

In their CCMA papers, the workers claimed the housing allowance, which now amounts to R3 300 per month, was last paid to them in 2016.

UPDATE: The troubled Mhlathuze water board in northern KwaZulu-Natal has finally agreed to comply with an arbitration award to back-pay its 231 staff members a monthly housing allowance of R3300. The back pay should start in 2016 and run to the present moment. @IOL

— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 16, 2022

In response, Mhlathuze Water claimed that the workers were mistaken in their claim because the money was not specified in their payslips.

It claimed that the money was there and they had been diligently paying it to qualifying staff members.

The CCMA ruled in favour of the workers, but Mhlathuze Water allegedly dug in its heels, saying it won’t implement the verdict.

The workers went back to the CCMA to ask it to force Mhlathuze to implement the arbitration award.

Early this week the CCMA wrote to the Mhlathuze board informing it that the ruling should be implemented.

“Dear Sir/Madam… In terms of section 143(3) of the LRA (Labour Relations Act), I confirm that the attached arbitration award in TCR14673 between Samwu… members (applicant) and Mhlathuze Water (respondent), issued by Commissioner M Nyama on 3-Oct-2022 and as varied on, served on the respondent respectively on 4-Oct 2022 and is a binding award in terms of action 143(3),” the CCMA registrar wrote to Mhlathuze Water.

Apparently fearing another wildcat strike, the board informed the staff on Wednesday that they would be paid their money as stipulated in the arbitration award.

“This morning we were informed that they are going to abide by the arbitration ruling and pay us. The matter has been settled,” an insider told IOL on Wednesday.

With the ruling, the back pay has to start from 2016 up to the present moment, meaning that the company may find itself coughing up thousands of rand to pay the 256 staff members.

Mhlathuze Water spokesperson, Siyabonga Maphumulo, confirmed that they have settled with the workers and they would pay them what is due.

“Mhlathuze Water has agreed to honour (the) award of the arbitration to pay its employees a housing allowance backdated to July 2021,” Maphumulo said.

sihle.mavuso@inl.co.za

IOL

Original Article

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