The late Richard Spalding, pictured above, was born 06 August 1963. He played a central role in the formation and growth of the SA Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU). Spalding was well-known for standing up for the rights of municipal workers during SAMWU formative years. He was one of the first SAMWU shop stewards in the then Johannesburg City Council (JCC).
Spalding worked at the Cas Mia Old age home in Hillbrow. He represented the then Transvaal in national executive committee meetings during SAMWU formative years. At the JCC, Spalding and his fellow comrades had to confront the apartheid municipality whose aim was to smash the union- SAMWU.
The JCC security department, now Metro Police Department, spied on union activities by attending SAMWU meeting, disguised as members. The surveillance of union meetings and its key leadership led to attacks on the leaders and their homes by the JCC security department. Spalding and his family survived one of these attacks on his home. However, these attacks never discouraged Spalding. He continued to build SAMWU. Spalding also contributed to the merger of three other unions within the JCC to form the country’s biggest branch of SAMWU. By SAMWU History Project