Labour court to rule on Pikitup strike

2011-04-15 10:44

The Labour Court is expected to rule today whether a Pikitup strike that started last Thursday is protected.

In a newspaper advertisement, the City of Joburg said it had brought an urgent application to declare the strike “unprotected” and to restrain the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) from preventing members’ return to work.

However, Samwu said the strike would end as soon as the city agreed to sign a proposal that Pikitup be investigated for corruption.

“We’ve also seen these ads and we cannot believe the levels the City of Joburg is stooping to just to justify the delaying tactics they are using,” said Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema.

He said the union did not want to delay the strike action because its workers were losing pay.

“The union did indicate to the City of Joburg that we were available 24 hours a day to sign the document.

“But, someone somewhere high up does not want to hold the signing ceremony, because the moment the document is signed, the investigation [into alleged corruption, financial mismanagement and nepotism] will start.”

The City of Joburg was not immediately available for comment.

Since the strike started last Thursday, Pikitup managing director Zami Nkosi, Pikitup board chairperson Phumla Radebe and several board members have resigned.

Refuse workers at the waste management agency went on strike last week, demanding, among other things, an internal investigation into allegations of corruption and irregular tenders.

The City of Joburg said the strike had been marred by reports of vandalism, intimidation and violence and the denial of residents’ access to dumping sites.

The Democratic Alliance warned today that a health disaster was looming as a result of the strike.

“It takes about three weeks for a rat explosion that can spread disease,” said DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom.

“Flies are another problem as well as cockroaches. People in informal settlements and overcrowded inner-city buildings are particularly at risk because of deficient sanitation.

“This is not the first rubbish strike and the city should have had contingency plans with private contractors to pick up the trash,” said Bloom.?

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