Workers holding Ugu to ransom

2018-06-07 06:02

UGU workers are holding the municipality and the South Coast community to ransom by denying them the right to clean running water during their ongoing illegal strike.

This is according to municipal manager D.D. Naidoo, who addressed the media on Wednesday morning regarding the issue at the municipality.

Naidoo said that in the past week, staff members have held meetings during working hours which management were not a part of.

However, management has remained tolerant under the assumption that they would be briefed in due course.

Since Monday, Ugu workers at the Park Rynie and Marburg depots have downed tools, and they have handed a list of demands to their employer.

Among the demands is the reinstatement of the “no work, no pay” deduction for the illegal strike embarked on in March. This deduction affected their May salaries.

They also demand the reinstatement of suspended shop stewards, and provisions for unlimited overtime.

Furthermore, Naidoo said that there were some “unauthorised interferences” involving certain valves being opened or closed when they were not supposed to be, thereby affecting the water supply to various areas in the region during the strike.

These interruptions, he said, affected the community in various ways as hospitals, schools and industries have had to go without water.

“Factories in the Marburg area have threatened to close down and even relocate due to the constant water interruptions. If they do this, hundreds of workers in those factories will be unemployed,” said Naidoo.

He added that the water outages in hospitals endangered patients’ lives and school pupils were at risk of not writing their June exams as the school will have to turn children away.

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Naidoo said Ugu would not be succumbing to the demands of workers via the illegal strike saying workers would have to follow the correct and legal protocols to have their grievances heard by the municipality.

Instead, legal action would be taken against the workers.

Today, a court interdict will be submitted to them demanding that they return to work or face dismissal.

Naidoo further said the municipality has sought the intervention of provincial and national government’s assistance with the current crisis.

“The municipality views this action by workers affiliated to SAMWU as a blatant disregard of the constitutional right of communities to provision of water and sanitation services. And we have identified that certain areas are currently being affected with water disruptions.” “We have also engaged the services of the law enforcement agencies to deal with possible acts of sabotage to the municipal infrastructure. We appeal to our communities to bear with us during this period while we work tirelessly towards arresting this situation.”

While Ugu has previously encountered illegal strikes, their transparency in dealing with the current one has ensure that they gathered community support.

The ANC in the region also released a statement saying the behaviour by the workers was unacceptable.

“The ANC is issuing a firm warning to those employees who are deliberately hampering water service delivery that we will encourage the courts to impose the maximum sentence for those found guilty,” said spokesperson Selvan Chetty apologising to the community and urging them to assist in bringing culprits to justice by reporting incidents.

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