Strike hurting Hibiscus

2010-11-24 00:00

HIBISCUS Coast Municipality (HCM) speaker Ronnie Nair has urged members of the public to begin to take care of their own refuse removal as the prospect of an indefinite municipal strike looms.

Nair was responding to the events of the last two days, which have seen hundreds of HCM employees withhold their services while gathering outside of the municipal council chambers in Port Shepstone.

It is reported that the HCM employees are demanding an upgrade from level 16 to level 14 in their salary brackets, which they say they were promised as far back as 2008.

HCM municipal manager Sbu Mkhize met the employees on Monday to discuss the matter, but according to HCM spokesperson Simon Soboyisa the employees were angry and uncontrollable and the meeting ended before a solution could be found.

This led to the reconvening of the meeting yesterday.

It was attended by senior councillors from the executive committee (Exco), Mkhize and members of the police.

After they discussed the issues at the Civic Centre, the meeting was once again postponed as no agreement could be reached.

With the angry employees still gathered outside the council chambers, Mkhize then met leaders of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and other executive councillors.

Again, it did not result in an agreement.

Samwu chairperson Njabulo Hlophe said the meeting was not productive.

“The meeting will continue tomorrow,” he said. “We walked out of the meeting because we could not reach any agreement.”

Nair conceded that the events of the last two days are of concern to the municipality.

“This is an illegal strike and it will have certain serious consequences,” said Nair. “Actions of this sort dent the reputation of the HCM.”

He added that issues of this nature should be taken up with the municipality’s labour forum and then be referred to the human resources portfolio.

“In the last year we have had numerous issues of a similar nature and 80-90% of them were resolved through following the correct procedures.”

Nair said that the HCM is doing what it can to resolve the issue as speedily as possible.

“We have our municipal manager who has been in talks with the union and we are trying desperately to resolve matters,” he said.

“But it looks like the strike is indefinite.”

Nair asked that members of the public begin to take their own rubbish to dumps or to keep their rubbish aside until services resume.

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