Striking refuse collectors ‘will not allow any temporary workers’

2019-02-19 16:09
Piles of uncollected rubbish in West Street on Monday.

Piles of uncollected rubbish in West Street on Monday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Despite promises by Msunduzi to bring in temporary workers to remove the garbage that has been accumulating on the streets since the start of the municipal workers’ strike last week, it has not been collected.

By late on Monday afternoon heaps of rubbish could be seen along streets across the city — with no waste removal workers in sight.

This after municipal waste management staff, who have been on strike since Tuesday, resolved to continue with their industrial action.

On Sunday the municipality told The Witness that it had hired temporary workers to remove the waste.

However, the striking SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) workers said they will not allow any temporary workers in the city.

“We have genuine grievances and ... appeal to anyone who is offered such temporary work to turn it down.

“We will not allow anyone to undermine the struggle of the workers,” Jabulani Ngidi, who is one of the strikers’ leaders said.

Ngidi said the striking workers were currently negotiating with the municipality’s leadership to find an amicable solution to the impasse.

They have not followed procedures before downing tools and are demanding a standardised salary system and safe working conditions.

Samwu leadership has distanced itself from the strike, saying the workers had not informed the union before embarking on the strike.

“Had they approached us we would have advised them on processes set out in the labour act which they needed to follow before embarking on a strike,” Samwu regional secretary Sbu Molefe said.

Molefe could not comment about talks between Msunduzi management and the striking workers.

“As the regional leadership we are not part of the talks,” he said.

Since last Tuesday the striking workers had been blocking the entrance to the municipality’s engineering workshop in Havelock Road.

The Msunduzi Municipality could not be reached for comment.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  waste management strike

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