Poor turnout for Joburg Samwu strike
Johannesburg - A few hundred striking municipal workers started marching in Johannesburg on Friday to press for better wages.
"There's no bread for the poor. We all buy the same bread for the same price. Even executives pay the same price we pay," SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) provincial chairperson Koena Ramotlou told protesters before the march started around noon.
He said the 18% they were demanding would improve their lives.The SA Local Government Association (Salga) has offered 6%.
"The employer could afford the 18% without increasing rates and taxes, check what the executives are taking home," said Ramotlou.
Not as many strikers as predicted
The Samwu members were marching to Salga's offices in Braamfontein, but there was little sign of Samwu's claim that 60% of workers would participate.
Only about 500 workers arrived, and the march started two hours late.
Union officials have denied claims that disgruntled members are boycotting the national strike because of corruption within its provincial leadership.
Johannesburg metro spokesperson Edna Molewa said on Friday that at least 15 roads would be closed for the duration of the march, while Metrobus spokesperson Esther Dreyer warned commuters that no buses would run in the city centre.
"We will be withdrawing buses from the city centre from 09:00 to 14:00 in view of the Samwu march... to safeguard passengers and protect our property," she said.
On Thursday, City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said most municipal departments had shown full attendance despite the strike that started on Monday.
"Work is continuing; none of our services have been affected."
Strikers ordered to clean up own mess
The SABC reported on Monday that 85% of Samwu members in Gauteng were not taking part in the strike.
Elsewhere in the country this week, municipal workers trashed several cities, including Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Nelspruit.
According to a report in Beeld on Friday, police ordered the Nelspruit marchers to clean up their mess before allowing them to proceed with their march.
It took them so long to clean up that they were three hours late for the handing over of their memorandum, by which time municipal officials had already left.