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THE South African Municipal Workers Union says thousands of its members are on strike in Cape Town over a new fingerprint clock-in system that deducts the pay of workers who arrive late.
Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema said workers who clock in even five minutes late automatically lose 15 minutes' pay because the fingerprint system is directly linked to the payroll system.
"If 2000 workers were late by 20 minutes a month, the fingerprint system would deduct the equivalent of one hour's of pay from each worker.
"The city would then save up to R100000 for that month," said Sema.
Sema says the system only allows workers to clock in twice a day, which means workers who get permission to attend to urgent personal business are unable to clock in when they return and lose a day's pay.
During the municipal strike in July, Samwu's Cape Town branch secretary Mikhel Khumalo said workers were forced to provide their fingerprints for the city's new time and attendance system.
But Sihle Msengana, the city's director of personnel services, says it is not true that the system deducts 15 minutes off workers' pay every time they are late.
And City of Cape Town spokesperson Kylie Hatton disputed Samwu's statement that thousands were on strike, saying only "184 staff members were reported absent without authorisation, which represents less than1,36percent of the city's total workforce".