Services may be hit today

2008-09-07 00:00

A number of services rendered by the Msunduzi Municipality might be affected by today’s planned protest by the municipality’s security guards, as employees from various departments are expected to down tools in a show of solidarity.

About 120 security guards plan to converge on the city hall and block management based there from working until their issues have been addressed.

The protest started on Friday when security guards and traffic officers blocked the entrance to the municipality’s traffic headquarters at 21 Washington Road.

Bhekisisa Zulu, a shop steward in the security division, said some traffic officers and employees in other departments have pledged to support the security officers’ strike.

“We are planning to block all the doors and no one will be working at the city hall until [municipal manager] Rob Haswell addresses us.

“The impact of Friday’s protest was not great,” Zulu said. Today’s action “will make sure that the impact is felt”, he added.

The protest is about salaries. Some security guards rank above traffic officers, but are paid less although guards and traffic officers all serve under the public safety division, said Zulu.

He said the security division is discriminated against because employees there are predominately black, while the situation is different at the traffic department where there is a mix of races.

He said the municipality’s human resources committee passed a decision that both traffic and security officers should be paid equally.

The matter went to the Executive Committee, but according to Zulu, Exco vetoed the decision.

“That was an uninformed decision that should be changed. We asked to address the ANC caucus to provide clarity on why salaries should be equal, but we were denied that opportunity,” added Zulu.

He said that while the protest is on, services such as the monitoring of informal traders and informal settlements will be neglected.

He said the security division is also responsible for enforcing the council’s by-laws and guarding against vandalism of forests and poaching in the Bisley Park Nature Reserve.

Haswell said he is not aware of the protest.

He said there are proper channels, such as labour forums, that can be used by council employees when they want decisions to be reviewed.

He said a city “cannot be properly run if employees believe that they can stop work if they want their issues addressed”.

thandom@witness.co.za

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