Striking garbage collectors block PE streets

Port Elizabeth – Nelson Mandela Bay municipal workers blocked off sections of the city centre on Wednesday after parking and abandoning several garbage trucks and council vehicles, making sections of Govan Mbeki Avenue impassable.

About 100 workers then gathered in front of the Lillian Diedericks Municipal Building, which is closed, and another municipal building across the road.

The municipality's Director of Communications, Roland Williams, said the municipality had noted the unlawful strike action by approximately 250 staff members, predominantly from the Waste Management division.

“We also noted that about 15 to 20 municipal waste removal trucks were deliberately parked and left in the streets in order to disrupt traffic and to stop access of our customers into municipal buildings,” he said.

“Such transgression of laws, and disruption of services to our people will not be tolerated,” he said.

Williams said the municipality had informed union representatives that the unlawful actions of their members would not be tolerated and that, in keeping with the legislation, policy and regulations, the principle of no-work-no-pay would be applied.

Williams emphasised that there were legitimate channels for workers to address their grievances.

The municipality had all the trucks removed from the streets and said while they expected workers to return to work and carry out their duties as usual, they warned residents that there may be disruptions in the waste removal service.

There was no immediate comment from the SA Municipal Workers Union as to what the workers grievances were.

Newly elected mayor, Danny Jordaan, was due to give the opening remarks at an investment seminar at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday morning, but cancelled - reportedly to address the issue of the strike.

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