Joburg garbage collectors on strike

2011-04-07 10:02
Johannesburg - Refuse collectors in the city, employed by waste management agency Pikitup, began their full-blown strike on Thursday morning, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said.

Spokesperson Tahir Sema said about 2 000 workers were busy gathering for a meeting on the first day of the strike.

He could not immediately confirm the meeting point, however Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said that workers were expected to gather in Joubert Park.

Pikitup received the strike notice earlier this week, after workers embarked on a go-slow in certain areas.

Agency accused of corruption

Workers have accused Pikitup of being "riddled with corruption", and of refusing to address workers' legitimate concerns.

"Workers are concerned about the department and would want for Pikitup to be free from corruption and nepotism," Sema said.

Other disputes were around wage disparities and the intimidation of union members.
Sema said most Pikitup employees were union members.

Pikitup spokesperson Pansy Oyedele said on Wednesday that the company tried everything in its power to reach an agreement with Samwu.

She said that management met with Samwu on Wednesday to try and find a way forward.

However, Sema said Samwu repeatedly made calls for an urgent meeting with Pikitup, to no avail.
"Management has refused to meet with us," he said.

What residents can do

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.

Pikitup's garden sites will remain open during the strike, but only for garden waste and not general domestic refuse.

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

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