OUTRAGED municipal workers strike again

2019-03-13 06:01
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaMunicipal employees protest outside A.S Chetty Centre on Monday.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaMunicipal employees protest outside A.S Chetty Centre on Monday.

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DESPITE Msunduzi Municipality saying that it had addressed employee’s concerns at the revenue offices at the A.S Chetty Centre, staff resumed their strike, saying the opposite.

According to indignant staff, the municipality has failed to attend to their issues. They are further peeved that municipality has hired temporary staff, saying it was an “insult” to them.

Employees protested outside the offices last Friday and on Monday this week, as the acting municipal manager, Neli Ngcobo, promised them on February 20, that the municipality will revert to them with answers based on their demands before the end of February.

Staff are demanding a salary increase, and have complained about the new system which they say is making their job more difficult.

They also claim that their job descriptions are unclear and that the building they occupy is in a terrible condition and does not have the proper resources to help customers.

Speaking to Echo outside the A.S Chetty Centre on Monday, staff said Ngcobo addressed them on February 21 and said she will meet with them again before March to resolve their issues.

“We are just fighting for what we believe is right. We are being overworked but are earning peanuts. After we started striking last Friday, the municipality went on to hire other people and a private security to guard these new temporal workers, who started working on Saturday.

“The fact that the municipality has the money to hire a private security shows that they have money, they just do not want to give it to us.”

Staff have vowed that they will not return to work until the municipality has addressed and resolved their problems.

Another employee, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said she feels that her employer does not take her seriously.

“How can you just hire new people because you are failing to address the issues that your current employees are raising?” she asked.

“Customers insult us everyday because of this new system that prints statements with different figures, but we keep on smiling and apologising because we are protecting the municipality. They [the municipality] make us look incompetent to customers while it’s their system that is not working properly,” she said.

Protesters also revealed that there are ten employees who were served with letters of intention of suspension because they were involved in the strike.

“Why did they only choose those 10 people? If they want to give out letters of suspension we must all get them because we are all striking,” one protestor said.

One of the employees who was served with a letter said she did not accept or sign anything because she knows that she did nothing wrong.

Last week, Msunduzi spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo said the municipality had met with the employees and their issues were addressed and it was work as usual. She further assured the public that they will get the help they needed without disruptions. However, that was not the case on Monday as customers had to leave the building without getting any help due to the strike.

One customer said he went to obtain his statement from the municipality but didn’t get any help although temporary workers were present. Another said he also went to get his statement but he could not get any assistance.

“I could not wait any longer to see what was happening because I am rushing to go back to work,” he told Echo at the offices on Monday.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality has already started to embark on the relevant disciplinary processes regarding the staff that are taking part in the “unprotected strike”.

“This is the part of the enforcement of the court order which was secured by the municipality, interdicting the workers from participating in an unprotected strike,” she said.

She said security measures have been reinforced to ensure the safety of the citizens and the employees who are not the part of the strike as well as the staff who are being sourced to deliver services.

“The operations at the bank hall and customer services are proceeding. The finance business unit has a team of dedicated senior managers who are assisting the consumers.

“The municipality is implementing contingency plans to mitigate the impact of the ‘unprotected strike’. The human resources capacity has been increased to ensure that service delivery is not disrupted further.

“The municipality is extending its sincere apologies to the consumers for the inconvenience. We appeal for patience during this time,” she said.

Consumers are also advised to visit Bombay Civic Centre for assistance and can also make a use of EasyPay outlets.

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