ANC fears Samwu strike fallout

2011-04-16 17:17

Municipal workers’ strikes in the province are a threat to the ruling party’s electoral prospects, the Gauteng ANC has said.

“We’re not worried about the opposition’s campaign, it has no chance of succeeding. But we’re worried a lot about the political sabotage by Samwu (SA Municipal Workers’ Union) in all ANC-governed municipalities in Gauteng,” ANC provincial secretary David Makhura said.

He said the union’s strikes in Joburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane were “politically inspired” and “aimed at embarrassing the ruling party”.

But labour federation Cosatu said it would not relegate “genuine worker concerns” to secondary issues just because of the upcoming elections.

Cosatu’s Gauteng provincial secretary, Dumisani Dakile, said the recent strikes would in fact help the ANC by removing corrupt elements within its ranks.

One of Samwu’s main gripes in this strike is alleged corruption and maladministration at Pikitup.

The refuse utility’s managing director, Zami Nkosi, resigned when the union made the allegations.

Dakile said: “Tackling crime and corruption is part and parcel of the ANC manifesto.”

He denied that ANC leaders were concerned that Samwu’s strike action was hurting the ANC’s election prospects in Gauteng.

He did concede that the action might affect the ANC, but insisted workers’ interests needed to be defended.

Strike Season
»?In March a month-long strike by Ekurhuleni refuse workers halted waste removal services.

» Joburg Metrobus drivers downed tools for five weeks over shift changes.

» The City of Tshwane sacked more than 1?000 workers after a wildcat strike in the same month, but more than half returned after they proved they had been intimidated.

Samwu took the municipality to the labour court in a bid to challenge its decision to fire 483 employees, but all have since been reinstated after the provincial ANC leadership intervened, according to union spokesperson Tahir Sema.

» Samwu members of the City of Johannesburg’s waste management company, Pikitup, went on strike last Thursday.

Samwu Gauteng provincial organiser Menzi Luthuli said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration would try to resolve the Pikitup dispute this weekend.

On Friday the Joburg Labour Court reserved judgment in the matter until tomorrow.

Pikitup management approached the labour court to declare the workers’ strike illegal and is blaming Samwu for refusing to sign an agreement.

Samwu accuses Pikitup management of failing to make contract workers permanent – one of the key demands for which workers went on strike.

Most of Joburg has not had refuse collection since last week.

Pikitup MD Zami Nkosi and chairperson Phumla Gumede have since resigned.

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