Striking municipal workers block road demanding permanent jobs

2015-12-08 10:36
Temporary staff at the Msunduzi electricity department burnt tyres and barricaded the entrance to the Havelock Road offices demanding municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi come and see them. The group are demanding permanent positions after years as tempor

Temporary staff at the Msunduzi electricity department burnt tyres and barricaded the entrance to the Havelock Road offices demanding municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi come and see them. The group are demanding permanent positions after years as tempor (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Temporary workers contracted to the Msunduzi Municipality electricity department burnt tyres and barricaded the Havelock Road offices on Monday, demanding to see the municipal manager.

A spokesperson for the group of striking workers, who asked not to be named in the newspaper, said the temporary workers wanted to be placed in permanent positions.

“Some of us have been on temporary staff for four to 15 years and there is always talk about making us permanent but there is never any action,” said the spokesperson.

The group burnt tyres at the entrance of the offices from 6 am yesterday morning as police and the fire department monitored the strike.

“We are burning the tyres because we want to draw the attention of our superiors. We need answers from them and they are nowhere to be seen,” he said.

The workers demanded to see the municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi saying that only he had the power to “make things right”.

The spokesperson said that the workers were tired of the municipality, which he alleged operates along the lines of “who you know, not what you know”.

“Jacob Zuma said that no one should work more than three months as a temporary worker. But clearly that law does not apply in this municipality. In this municipality, friends and family get permanent jobs,” he said.

A South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) representative was present at the strike but refused to speak to the media, saying he had been asked to “keep quiet”.

The Witness sent questions to the union, but no answers were received by the time of going to print.

Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said that “as a matter of practice and procedure” the municipality cannot deal with internal employer and employee disputes raised via the media.

“Dissatisfied or disgruntled employees” should “address their legitimate concerns with line management internally first, in their respective hierarchy.”

She said employees must follow due processes and must not “embark on strike action that is illegitimate or wage a media campaign to discredit the municipality or fellow employees, without valid facts”.

“Council is committed to resolving this amicably, however, we will not be engaging via the media,” added ­Madonda.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest  |  strike

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