Nelson Mandela Bay services grind to a halt as Samwu strike intensifies

2018-06-15 19:09
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Nelson Mandela Bay services have been severely affected as the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) strike action deepened on Friday.

Samwu gave notice of its intent to strike on Wednesday evening, listing a number of grievances including outstanding long-term service back pay, issues relating to overtime and suspension of workers.

The workers started striking on Thursday and marched on the city hall on Friday to hand over their memorandum to acting city manager Nolwandle Gqiba. The striking workers have given the municipality until Monday to respond.

In the memorandum, the workers have demanded that an outstanding R30 000 long service back pay, which relates to money owed from the time when the former Uitenhage, Despatch and Port Elizabeth municipalities merged to form Nelson Mandela Bay in 2000.

Among other demands Samwu has also asked that all suspensions be lifted for any staff members suspended for more than three months, that all outstanding overtime be paid, that contract workers be absorbed immediately and that the municipality stops wasting taxpayers' money on legal practitioners.

Services disrupted

Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron confirmed that both the Korsten and Uitenhage traffic and driving licence centres were closed. The consumer care centres at Mfanasekhaya Gqobose, Walmer, Uitenhage Town Hall and Korsten were also closed due to the municipal strike.

Refuse collection services have also been disrupted.

"Isolated incidents of intimidation have also been reported but there has been swift action from the joint operations centre established yesterday morning to deal with all strike-related issues," he said.

Baron said the municipality had also taken the decision to postpone pre-booked driver's licence renewals at the traffic department for a week.

"We would like to appeal to residents who are able to take their domestic and garden refuse to drop-off centres to do so.

"These centres are open from 07:00 and 17:00 daily and no one will be denied access during this period," he said.

Baron said residents could report refuse collection issues on 041 506 2833 or email waste@mandelametro.gov.za.

ANC blames DA-led coalition for strike

ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula expressed the party's "unwavering support for workers of Nelson Mandela Bay municipality on their strike action aimed at the illegitimate government of (Mayor Athol) Trollip.

"The workers' demands are legitimate and reasonable, any sober management would adhere to them. It is only in a DA government where ignorance and arrogance would take centre stage on matters of workers. We are not surprised by this attitude," he said.

Xathula said the DA-led coalition had continuously taken decisions that were anti-working class and anti-poor.

"We have instructed our caucus to vote in favour of the long service bonuses and assist in any manner in the processes of local labour forum.

Xathula said the municipality should seriously consider Samwu's demands as it was the majority union in the municipality and failure to do so would cause more instability in the metro.

"The strike has a negative impact on the daily lives of people of the metro, it inconveniences them," he said.

Xathula laid the blame at Trollip's door.

"Trollip must shoulder the blame for the chaos that we find ourselves in. His arrogant and careless style of leadership has messed up administration and management of our Metro," he said.

Xathula said the ANC called on all workers to join and support the action led by Samwu.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  samwu  |  nelson mandela bay  |  protests
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