Workers on sewerage project down tools

2015-05-28 06:00
PHOTO: nompendulo ngubane

The site of the project in Azalea that has been stopped.

PHOTO: nompendulo ngubane The site of the project in Azalea that has been stopped.

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THE sewerage project in Azalea, Ward 10 in Pietermaritzburg­ has been stopped due to “labour­ issues” between employer and employees­.

Thirty four employees have downed tools since last week. The project, headed by AIM Actus Integrated Management, started last year.

Ward councillor Msizi Ngcobo said the project has had problems since it started. Labour issues such as salary increments and new uniforms have been tabled with the construction company. Employees are not satisfied with the R120 they are paid a day.

However, AIM Actus Integrated Management director, Vee Morar, disputed that the project has been stopped due to labour issues, saying there are internal issues that are being discussed at the moment.

She said the situation has nothing to do with labour issues. “We are having talks with the Msunduzi Municipality and they are handling the matter very well. We will resume work when we are done with the meetings between us and the municipality.

“Currently employees’ tools are at rest until all the involved structures come to a solution of a way forward,” said the councillor.

Ngcobo said that the issue of the community liaison officer (CLO) being fired two weeks ago affected the project.

CLO Sibongiseni Sibiya, an Azalea location resident, said he was fired because he was vocal about the issues that were dissatisfactory to the employees. He was kicked off of the project as the CLO two weeks ago.

Morar confirmed that the CLO no longer works for them due to internal issues.

Ngcobo said the labour issues and the matter of the CLO being fired prompted workers to stop working.

“We have sat down with the municipality and the employer, but so far nothing positive has come out. The project has been paused and workers have decided not to pitch up for work until the issues are resolved,” said Ngcobo.

The targeted time-frame for the completion of the project is the end of June. The project started last year and 20 000km sewerage pipes are expected to be fully installed by the end of next month. The areas that will benefit from this project are Azalea 15, 12, 14, Azalea C and A.

“This is the second occasion employees are downing their tools since the project started last year. There have been issues of salaries and uniforms. Worker wants new and quality uniforms. As the CLO my duty is to be a messenger. The community and the employees trust that I am their voice. I conveyed that message to the employer and she decided to fire me.

“We have had meetings with the ward committee, project steering committee, ward councillor, the municipality and the employer. Attempts­ to sort out the issues have failed dismally,” said Sibiya.

Ward committee member Thulani Ngcobo said employees and the community do not support the decision of the CLO being fired.

The Msunduzi Municipality acting marketing manager Nqobile Madonda said the municipality is aware of what is happening.

“The municipality council has facilitated meeting between all affected parties.”

Madonda said it should be borne in mind that the CLO is employed by AIM and not by council and he reports to them as his employer

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