Municipality: strike won’t halt services

2009-07-27 00:00

THE nationwide South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) strike goes ahead today and Msunduzi Municipal workers will be marching to the Pietermaritzburg city hall to present their memorandum of grievances to Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo.

The workers will gather outside the electricity department in Doull Road and will set out on their march from 11 am to arrive at the city hall by lunchtime.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said contingency plans are in place to keep essential services going. He said there will be refuse removal services in areas that have their rubbish picked up on Mondays. “It may be later than usual, but it is certainly our intention, with the assistance of outside contractors, to provide the service.”

Asked whether there will be a complete shutdown of municipal offices, Haswell said the effect of the strike and what form it will take are difficult to predict. He sent notices to staff saying all essential services are not protected in case of strike action

and that workers in these departments should report for duty.

Essential services are fire, water, sanitation, health, electricity, traffic and security.

Haswell said the municipality will monitor the situation carefully and ensure the safety of workers who choose to report to work.

Samwu’s full-time shop steward at the Msunduzi Municipality, Themba Lyons, said that as far as he is aware, all members are going on strike. He said all municipal services are considered essential services and the no work, no pay rule applies to all sections. He said that instead of reporting for duty, workers will gather in Doull Road for a meeting before proceeding with the march.

The SA Local Government Association (Salga) has reported a favourable outcome of the negotiations with Samwu. However, union members from municipalities in the uMgungundlovu District said they have not heard the outcome. Lyons said they will get a report on the negotiations and hold talks to get a revised mandate from workers. Until then, he said, the strike goes ahead. Essential services like fires will be attended to if there is a life-threatening situation.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police will be in attendance during the municipal workers’ march and will monitor the situation. “We don’t expect any problems, but should there be problems we will be ready for them,” Budhram said.

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