The water and sanitation, and technical employees have disrupted operations at the district municipality for two working days.
On Friday, the workers demanded to be addressed by management and threatened to throw raw sewage at the municipal building and vehicles belonging to management if they were not.
On Monday, a special council meeting was called to find a solution to the issues raised by the employees.
“In the afternoon, the disgruntled employees threw raw sewage at the undercover parking lot, front-parking area and at the reception. It seemed they were unhappy with the meeting’s outcome,” said one employee who asked to remain anonymous.
“The employees demand that the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and contractual employees should be appointed permanently. This, however, affects all of us because when they demand attention, they come to the council building and that’s where our offices are. We left early on Monday and yesterday was the same. We have been held hostage for two days,” said the employee.
Another employee blamed the municipal leadership for taking “too long” to attend to the workers’ grievances, adding that temporary employment was not the solution to fighting poverty.
In June, the workers threw faeces at the municipal offices and at cars parked at the premises. Tractor-loader-backhoe vehicles were allegedly used to carry the waste.
Municipal manager Sifiso Kunene said the illegal strike ended yesterday.
He confirmed that one of the employees’ demands was permanent employment.
“Their demand for permanent employment will affect the budget. The EPWP is a government programme which runs for 12 months. We advised them to list all their grievances. We have also pointed out that since their strike was illegal, the no-work, no-pay principle will apply,” Kunene said.
Patricia Lite, of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union, said the unions were not involved.
“The striking workers, I’m told, do not trust the union, hence the formation of committees to represent them. The strike was illegal, yet the employer agreed to engage the committees and this was a mistake. It’s best if one just observes the unfolding of events until they get to finality,” Lite said.