A picture posted on the Save PMB group taken on Monday shows rubbish piled up on the city streets near Imbali Taxi Rank.
A picture posted on the Save PMB group taken on Monday shows rubbish piled up on the city streets near Imbali Taxi Rank.

Msunduzi Municipality’s waste management strike may end today

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Oct 7, 2021

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DURBAN - STAFF members in the Msunduzi Municipality waste management unit could be back at work by today.

But that is dependent on how negotiations with management over the workers’ grievances proceed.

The Mercury reported yesterday that the workers, who have stayed away from work since Monday, had been scheduled to return to work yesterday.

But by the afternoon they had not returned to duty and were at the municipality’s stores, collecting new uniforms.

The stay-away left rubbish piling up in the city’s streets, and this left Pietermaritzburg residents fuming.

The workers had complained about old and torn uniforms, saying they had not received new uniforms since 2019.

They also complained about job gradings, saying they were graded the lowest compared with other general workers in different departments in the municipality.

During a marathon meeting with municipal manager Madoda Khathide on Tuesday, the workers were promised new uniforms.

Linda Gcabashe, of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union in the Midlands, said they expected workers to return today.

He said there would be a meeting with management, and if the workers and management found common ground, workers would resume duties.

“The key issue was that of the uniforms, as the workers cannot work without them. They need the insulated boots, they need the reflector jacket. As we speak now (Wednesday afternoon), the workers are at the stores getting new uniforms.”

ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said he had walked around the city and was shocked by the rubbish everywhere.

“I walked around and all I saw were piles of rubbish that had not been collected; the place is filthy,” he said.

Some Pietermaritzburg residents have vented their frustrations on social media about the state of the city. On learning the refuse was not being collected because of the stay-away, one user posted on the SavePMB Facebook page in Zulu, expressing shock that there was even a waste management department in the municipality.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed that workers had not returned to duty.

“They were given uniforms but they did not resume their duties. Consequence management will apply.”

THE MERCURY

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