Durban: thousands of Imatu members join strike

2011-08-25 00:00

NO serious incidents of violence were reported yesterday as thousands of municipal workers affiliated to the Integrated Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union (Imatu) held their first major march in Durban since they joined the countrywide municipality strike.

Imatu joined the crippling municipal strike last week, a week after members of the Cosatu-affiliated South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) launched the strike.

Although most streets in Durban were strewn with rubbish, especially West Street, the main route of the march, police used water cannons to prevent a small group of marchers from emptying rubbish bins on the streets.

Members of the SA Police Force public order unit and the eThekwini Metro Police violence unit, armed with plastic shields and batons, were seen in big numbers as the marchers proceeded down West Street to a park near the city hall where they handed a memorandum to the eThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala.

Municipal workers across the country are on a legal strike following the collapse of wage negotiations between their unions and the South African Local Government Association, which represents municipalities across the country. Striking workers are demanding 18% increase while Salga has offered 6,08%.

In the memorandum, which was handed over by Imatu’s deputy chairperson for the eThekwini region, Thembinkosi Mkhulisi, Imatu said Salga and the municipal councillors will be held responsible for further delays in the delivery of proper services in cities and towns across South Africa.

It also demanded that Salga enter into bona fide wage negotiations and put on the table a fair and reasonable wage offer. Failing this, it warned, the strike action will be prolonged and intensified.

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