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Johannesburg – The City of Johannesburg late on Wednesday said it “condemned” the workers of Pickitup who are on strike for being “lawless”.

The statement came after police shot at protesting members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union with rubber bullets and stun grenades. Many of the strikers were injured, and a few sustained injuries to their heads.

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Cllr. Matshidiso Mfikoe said: “It is not acceptable for the workers to go on an illegal strike, ignore a court order to return to work and continue to trash the streets of the city when they have not communicated their grievances to the city’s leadership”.

Since Monday Samwu have downed tool in protest at alleged corruption involving the Pikitup’s managing director Amanda Nair of Pickitup.

Pickitup earlier on Wednesday said it had obtained a court interdict prohibiting the strike. However, workers have continued with their stirke demanding that Nair “steps down” and their pay issues resolved.

Pickitup insisted that is was not aware of any reasons why their workers were striking.

The City’s Mfikoe weighed in saying: “I have not been approached by the workers about their grievances. Even though the workers marched to the Joburg Executive Mayor, Cllr. Parks Tau’s office on Tuesday and today, they did not hand over a memorandum on arrival at the Metro Centre to give us an opportunity to try resolve their grievances”.

On Monday Pickitup workers downed tools and took to the streets of the city and begun emptying rubbish bins onto the streets to express their grievances. They repeated their actions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The city’s leadership is sympathetic to workers’ legitimate concerns and efforts are often made to resolve them when brought to us. In the recent events, nothing has been communicated to us,” said Mfikoe.

She encouraged workers to return to work and use channels within the law to express their grievances.

“Breaking the law and trashing the city without bringing forward their grievances to the leadership is not going to resolve anything, but compound problems for workers – both with the employer and legally. We therefore appeal to workers to engage with us to resolve their grievances.”

On Thursday morning the City’s leadership will undertake a walkabout of the CBD to assess the extent of the damage caused by the striking workers.

African News Agency