Strikers won’t back down

2010-03-01 00:00

MSUNDUZI municipal workers in the water, electricity, traffic and waste departments have vowed to continue their strike over the payment of overtime and other concerns.

So if you have put your rubbish out and are hoping it will be taken away today, chances are it won’t be.

Acting municipal manager Roy Bridgmohan yesterday told The Witness that the municipality’s management committee will meet Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo this morning in an attempt to plot the way forward.

“But we will not go back on our decision [not to pay the overtime].”

When asked about contingency plans for the collection of rubbish, Bridgmohan referred The Witness to the deputy municipal manager for community services, Zwe Hulane, who had already êthe reporter to Bridgmohan for comment.

Bridgmohan complained that his rubbish has also not been collected. He said he had been out of town for the weekend and was driving and could not say any more to The Witness.

An employee who has served the municipality for more than 20 years said the strikers won’t back down until their concerns are attended to. The employee, who asked not to be named, said it is disappointing that the Local Government Department has not dealt with the municipality long after a memorandum detailing the “burning issues” of financial mismanagement and unfair labour practices by municipal officials was sent to the department in March last year.

“They have been made aware of the crisis last year. All we want is for them to remove the mayor and the municipal manager because they are failing not only the employees, but also the ratepayers,” said the employee.

“During the old order you never heard of this municipality running out of money, but in a democracy it happens.”

On Thursday, the police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse protesting workers outside the city hall.

The employee said the strike is not only about overtime payment, but also about the misappropriation of municipal funds and the lack of action against the culprits.

“We want the ruling party to tell us what is being done to sort this mess out. We can’t go on like this while knowing what and where the problem is,” he said.

Local Government MEC Nomsa Dube said she was not aware of Thursday’s protest. “We are aware of the concerns raised by the municipal workers and we are working on addressing them. We will explain to them the steps taken in dealing with the matter, and this will be done through their representatives,” said Dube.

The secretary of the Msunduzi Shop Stewards’ Council, Themba Lyons, said they have given the municipality 48 hours’ notice that members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union will be embarking on an indefinite strike.

 

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