No end to strike action

2017-05-31 06:05
Armed members of the Bloemfontein public order police on guard while striking workers affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers Union gather in at the Hertzog Square opposite the Free State Legislature in Bloemfontein.Photos: Teboho Setena

Armed members of the Bloemfontein public order police on guard while striking workers affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers Union gather in at the Hertzog Square opposite the Free State Legislature in Bloemfontein.Photos: Teboho Setena

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The stench remains of sewage spil­lages and uncollected waste within the greater Mangaung Metro Municipality as the strike action by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) continues. The strike addresses a range of demands, including better wages.

Pule Molalenyane, president of Samwu, said after the employer, the Manguang Metro Municipality, had failed to meet the demands or counter the offer, strike action will continue indefinitely.

“The tabled offer is an increase of R3 000 for all employees and a R40 000 once-off payment in adjustment of salaries for 4 000 workers.

“The adjustment dates back to 2011 – ever since then, the municipality did not adjust the salaries of the workers, but only those of managers,” said Molalenyane.

He said the union also demanded the permanent placement of temporary workers who had been working since 2011.

“This is against the labour law of the country, but this municipality finds it fit to do so.”

The strike action by Samwu affiliated workers in the Mangaung Metro Municipality began on 16 May, when over 4 000 workers downed tools. The strike, which further cripples service delivery, was fuelled by the Mangaung authority’s failure to pay salaries to temporary workers for a month ending on 25 April 2017. These are workers attached to purification facilities and other departments.

The union is adamant that it wants these workers employed permanently.

The workers led by the union leadership are not budging on their demands. The workers demand, among other things, payment of the outstanding salaries of temporary workers for the month of April and May.

The strike action continues as negotiations between the Mangaung Metro and the union deadlocked. This has resulted in the shutdown of service delivery in Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.

Yesterday, the union had still not struck a deal with the employer, the Mangaung Metro, despite a series of meetings.

While the strike continues, armed members of the Bloemfontein public order police remain on guard, monitoring the situation around the administration premises of the municipality in Bloemfontein. This follows sporadic incidents of the looting of shops and the starting of fires a week ago at the height of the massive strike.

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