President intervened to end strike

2011-05-10 16:06

President Jacob Zuma intervened to stop a municipal workers’ strike that had threatened to scupper the local government elections in Gauteng.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), whose talks with the provincial ANC leadership to resolve the dispute had failed to yield any fruit, today announced that it had called off its planned “rolling mass action” that was due to start on Friday.

The strikes, which halted services in municipalities such as Johannesburg, had been triggered by the dismissal of the union’s officials in some Gauteng municipalities and the union’s dissatisfaction over changes to the Municipal Systems Act.

Samwu believes that the amendments will undermine collective bargaining in local government.

The union’s general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo said its leadership had met the “ANC top brass”, led by Zuma yesterday, and had discussed issues such as the mooted ban on labour brokers.

“The ANC shared the same view on labour brokers and have indicated that this will be dealt with through proposed labour (law) amendments.

“The union’s (national executive committee) identified this area as crucial for real progress to be made, especially within government,” Nhlapo said in a statement.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the ANC welcomed Samwu’s decision to call off the strike pending further meetings on sticking issues.

He would not say why Zuma himself had stepped in to resolve the crisis.

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