Garbage workers make strike plans

2011-04-07 12:33
Johannesburg - Pikitup refuse collectors in Johannesburg, on the first day of their full blown strike, will gather in Joubert Park on Thursday for a meeting, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said.

Spokesperson Tahir Sema said workers will gather next to the Johannesburg Art Gallery from 10:30 onwards.

The gathering will take place to report back on a meeting Samwu had with politicians and the Johannesburg city manager, he said.

Pickets outside a number of Pikitup depots will also begin on Thursday.

"We are not willing to compromise on our key demands..." Sema said.

Some of the demands include that an investigation be commissioned into corruption and irregular tenders allegedly awarded at the waste management company.

Contract workers

The union asked that Pikitup's managing director be suspended pending this investigation.

"Money must also stop being wasted on contract workers [and] temporary contracts must be changed to permanent employment.

"We are also demanding that management look into wage disparities that exist and have existed in the department for many years," he said.

Samwu claimed that certain managers and executives of Pikitup, which is owned by the municipality, were being intimidated.

Sema said they were being intimidated for supporting calls for an investigation "into corruption at Pikitup".

Pikitup received notice of the planned strike earlier this week, after go slows at certain depots.

Its spokesperson Pansy Oyedele said on Wednesday that the company tried everything in its power to reach an agreement with Samwu after a meeting with them.

Samwu initially denied that it had met with management.

No news of contingency plans

Meanwhile, Pikitup asked residents who do not have their rubbish collected during the strike to be patient, and to keep it inside their yards for the time being.

"... We are asking residents who do not have their waste collected, to please keep it inside their yard and be patient," Oyedele said.

People with the capacity could take general waste to the four landfill sites which would also remain open, Oyedele said.

These sites were: Goudkoppies, in Houthammer Road, Devland; Marie Louise, in Dobsonville Road, Roodepoort; Robinson Deep in Turffontein Road, Turffontein; and Ennerdale, in Old Lawley Road, Lawley.

As a final resort, residents may also be able to deposit their refuse at the 42 garden sites located around the city.

Oyedele could not detail contingency plans in the event of an extended strike.

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