Durban - UMngeni municipality employees, who embarked on an illegal strike over a salary dispute and allegedly torched municipal offices over the weekend, returned to work on Monday after a court order.
The municipality was granted an order in the Durban Labour Court compelling disgruntled employees to halt their industrial action.
Members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) joined the week-long strike, demanding wages be moved to the top notch in their grade – the same as seven senior municipal managers. They also wanted a one-off payment of R25 000 each as a “14th cheque”.
Municipal spokesman Thango Mgaga confirmed that acting municipal manager Steve Simpson and legal representatives had applied for the court order on Friday. “Both council and management have welcomed the interdict.”
Management had met on Monday to address the refuse collection backlogs.
Mgaga said the council condemned violence and urged the police to investigate the destruction of municipal property at the weekend.
The strike turned nasty on Friday when strikers torched the municipality finance offices and tried to burn down the arts and culture offices and Howick library and museum.
There was minimal damage to the library and museum, but extensive damage to the council buildings.
Workers also attempted to break into mayor Mbali Myeni’s private home late on Friday.
The violence on Friday is believed to have started after Myeni failed to arrive at a meeting to address disgruntled workers.
The police confirmed that charges of arson and malicious damage to property were being investigated.
uMngeni’s Samwu representative, John Dlamini, denied the union was responsible for the arson and damage.