Refuse collectors back at work – for now

2015-06-30 15:35

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REFUSE collectors are back at work while their union SAMWU and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are in conciliation talks.

The union applied to the bargaining council to conduct a legal strike after a deadlock in negotiations with the municipality last Thursday.

Municipal waste collection workers had threatened to down tools because the municipality laste week failed to agree to their demands for back-pay and a special allowance.

SAMWU regional chairperson Nomvula Hadi said in their closed meeting with city managers on Thursday, they were informed that the municipality had resolved not to meet workers’ demands.

Hadi said as a result SAMWU had applied to the bargaining council to issue a certificate of non resolution which would enable the workers to conduct a legal strike.

SAMWU spokesperson Mqondisi Nodongwe said at this point SAMWU was in conciliation with management and if both stakeholders did not agree on the terms stipulated, they would go to arbitration. Thereafter they will be issued a certificate to embark on a legal strike by the bargaining council.

In another department, Hadi said unions together with management had formed a task team to resolve the plumbers situation who embarked on an illegal strike two weeks ago.

Hadi said they would also be striking if the task team does not reach an agreement.

Municipal communications director Roland Williams said the infrastructure and engineering (Iandamp;E) directorate held a report back meeting on Wednesday, June 25 with staff to provide feedback on a list of items received the week prior.

Williams said staff were seemingly unhappy with management responses and insisted the city boss address them directly and for management to commit to some of their demands.

“The team of managers who were present were unable to make any further commitments. They were refused exit from the hall. Eventually, after three caucuses they were released later on Wednesday afternoon said Williams.

Hadi denied this saying Williamand#039;s had exaggerated the situation to suit his own agenda.

The meeting was held at the Despatch Community Hall, attended by 250 workers and 12 managers, including a representative from the municipality’s labour relations division.

What workers demand

.All labour brokered staff vacancies must be filled by June 30;

.The removal of qualifying conditions for acting appointments;

.An occupational Risk and Dirt Allowance for workers who work under difficult conditions;

.An end to outsourcing work similar to that of employees;

.Poor relations between management and staff must be addressed

Municipality's response

.177 vacancies staff have been filled. Another 59 vacancies are in the process of being filled;

.Management cannot change the qualifying conditions for acting appointments, as this is a policy issue;

.The demand for a Risk and Dirt Allowance is under consideration;

.All our contractual obligations with service providers must be met. We will follow up and investigate any specific claims that outsourcing may have taken place when there was internal capacity. This investigation will be concluded within three months.

.With regard to better relations, management and union meetings are being implemented and have even been cascaded to divisional levels. At the same time, any staff member who is unhappy with any area, may follow Council’s grievance procedure

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