Striking workers scatter rubbish through city

2011-08-16 00:00

WHILE local members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) braved the cold weather to embark on a picket after the South African Local Government Association (Salga) turned down their demand for an 18% salary increase, residents in Northern Park had to go without lights yesterday.

A source in the Msunduzi electricity department said they are aware of the problem, but cannot fix it during the day because they will be in trouble with their striking counterparts. He said contractors will work on the Northern Park power cut during the night to prevent people from being harmed by striking workers.

As the strikers marched from the city hall to picket various municipal offices they chanted that they do not want “rats” who work while they are fighting for salary increases. The police monitored the picketers and prevented them from disturbing their colleagues.

The protesters marched on the municipal call centre to find the doors locked.

On their march they ripped open refuse bags and scattered rubbish along the streets and left a trail of dirt at a taxi rank.

Lucky Zimu, the local chairperson of Samwu, urged his members to mobilise more people to join them for today’s picketing.

“We are going to be part of the provincial march to be staged in Durban on Thursday, but before that march we will continue with picketing,” said Zimu.

In other parts of KwaZulu-Natal, chilly weather seemed to keep workers at home on the first day of the strike, reports Fin24.

“We planned a number of pickets but very few people attended because … the weather has disrupted our plans,” said Samwu KZN secretary Jaycee Ncanana.

Samwu workers are officially demanding an 18% pay hike, but spokesperon Tahir Sema said they will not settle for less than 10%. Salga spokesperson Milisa Kentane said their offer stood at 6,08%. “Our doors remain open (for talks),” she said yesterday.

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