'Unruly' Pikitup protesters disrupt Joburg roads

2015-11-26 15:40
Braamfontein street being cleaned. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Braamfontein street being cleaned. (Naledi Shange, News24)

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Johannesburg - Just hours after Pikitup management, city councillors and Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau went to Braamfontein to clean up trash littered by striking Pikitup workers, the strikers returned to the streets in protest. 

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told News24 that traffic officers had closed the Nelson Mandela Bridge to traffic as well as Juta and De Beers roads because of the protest action. 

"It's just not safe because they are becoming unruly," he said. 

Pikitup workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) embarked on their unprotected strike on Monday. Things turned violent on Tuesday, with police resorting to firing rubber bullets at the strikers who had burnt bins, overturned others and ripped open bags of trash as they marched to Tau's office. 

At the time, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said striking workers tried to break the windows at the mayor's office and police had fired rubber bullets as a result.

Salary structures a 'thumbsuck'

Samwu's Paul Tlhabane had earlier told News24 that members were striking because the company's remuneration policy was inconsistent. They were also demanding management adhere to their agreement to pay for transport when travelling to a colleague's funeral.

Tlhabane said the salary structures at the company were a "thumbsuck".

He said they approached Pikitup's management on Friday with the workers' grievances, but were instead met with insults because they "couldn't care less" and were called "hooligans".

The group also demanded the resignation of their managing director, Amanda Nair, accusing her of corruption and nepotism.   

On Thursday, however, Nair said the workers had still not officially informed them of their grievances. 

Talking to News24 on the sidelines of the clean-up operations in which she took part, Nair would not confirm whether the workers would be fired for failing to arrive at work on Thursday. 

Read more on:    pikitup  |  samwu  |  johannesburg  |  strikes

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