Breakthrough in Samwu strike?

2010-04-17 09:12

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) will decide today whether

to continue the strike by municipal workers, which entered its fifth day


Samwu and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) met yesterday

“to iron out sticking points” after their positive talks in Midrand on

Wednesday, said Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema.

After the meeting, the union would report back to its members and

get a mandate, which would be discussed by its national executive committee this


Sema said: “Samwu wants a written agreement between involved


He also said Samwu decided to strike after Salga failed to

implement agreements reached seven years ago about market-related salaries for

middle- and lower-income workers.

“The demands we are calling for will ensure that service delivery

is sped up and that corruption is uprooted,” he said.

Samwu members took to the streets throughout the country on Monday

after the labour court struck off the roll a Salga application opposing the



Although the strike was largely peaceful compared to previous Samwu

action, incidents were reported in parts of the country, with strikers emptying

dustbins in the streets of major cities including Durban and Johannesburg.

Samwu members were arrested for public violence and damage to

property in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, and Port Elizabeth and East London

in the Eastern Cape.

Strikers were injured when police fired rubber bullets at them

after they hit a police officer with a brick in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

The City of Johannesburg advised its residents to move their

rubbish bins back into their property until the strike ended.

The city and law enforcement officials were viewing CCTV footage to

identify protesters who had vandalised public property.

Municipal spokesperson Nthatisi Modigoane said: “Such vandals will

be disciplined and, if need be, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the


In Durban, shops were closed and traffic was completely blocked by

striking workers. Police had to spray water to disperse them.

Samwu condemned the workers’ behaviour but said it understood their



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