Electricity workers stick to their guns

2015-07-29 11:46

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MUNICIPAL electricity and energy workers say they will only go back to work full-time when the metro pays them the scarce skills allowance that was promised to them during negotiations with Samwu.

Samwu regional secretary Mqondisi Nodongwe said the interruption of services caused by the alleged illegal strike would continue if the metro did not fulfil its promises to its workers.

Nodongwe was responding to a press statement by municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki on Monday which said the municipality was working around the clock to make sure that employees of its electricity and energy directorate who were on an illegal strike resumed their duties immediately.

Mniki said that since last Friday some employees in the directorate had been on the illegal strike, based on dissatisfaction with issues related to allowances.

“This strike has placed considerable strain on the services that the directorate renders to the public and has caused delays in attending to electricity related problems because of the absence of dedicated staff to deal with them,” Mniki said.

Nodongwe, however, said the metro had caused this problem as city manager Mpilo Mbambisa had reneged on his word to pay the workers their scarce skills allowance.

“This is not an illegal strike. These workers are not office-bound but are field workers. A strike involves a toyi-toyi or march and the workers are doing nothing of the sort. This is an ongoing engagement by union leaders and management and workers are simply at their depot waiting to hear the outcome,” said Nodongwe.

Nodongwe said that after a mass strike by Samwu on July 16, the metro had promised to pay back the scarce skills allowance on July 31. “They are now saying they can only pay workers on August 15. That’s what the workers want clarity on,” said Nodongwe.

According to Mniki, a delegation led by the portfolio chairperson of infrastructure and engineering, councillor Andile Mfunda, met the striking employees on Monday in a bid to find common ground. “The meeting was progressive and we hope to have a solution that will lead to normality before Friday,” said Mfunda. – REPORTER

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