UMDM workers return to work

2014-10-29 00:00

STRIKING workers at the Umgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) trickled back to work yesterday.

This after the municipality was granted an interim order by the Labour Court on Monday, declaring the strike illegal.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have until November 5 to oppose the application.

The municipality said the striking workers were given an ultimatum yesterday to get back to work, with immediate effect.

UMDM spokesperson Mbali Ndlovu said the majority of workers had returned to work and that management was “rigorously monitoring and evaluating attendance”.

However, the return of the workers did not put an end to residents’ water woes. Residents in Merrivale, who have been hardest hit, were still without water yesterday.

The strike has been marred by violence and widespread allegations of sabotage of water supplies. Last week rampaging workers allegedly set up burning barricades across Langalibalele Street and set fire to cars in a parkade belonging to the municipality.

The temporary interdict stops the workers from unlawfully interfering with the business operations of the municipality. Samwu and its members are also interdicted from threatening, intimidating or assaulting any UMDM employees, or interfering with them in the course of their duties.

The workers have been protesting a system of job grading that was introduced in 2011, which they claimed contained discrepancies in the pay of plumbers.

They wanted the system scrapped and for those who had earned less than their colleagues to get back-pay.

Ndlovu said that in the meantime, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs was continuing to facilitate negotiations to resolve the impasse at the municipality.

She apologised to residents and urged those who were still experiencing water cuts to contact the municipal call centre at 080 086 4911.

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