964 South African Municipal Workers Union who work for Pikitup marched on the streets of Johannesburg and Braamfontein trashing the streets with rubbish. 241115 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Pikitup has issued a stern warning saying it will take action against striking workers if they continue to stay away from work.

The striking workers, who are affiliated to South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), are demanding better pay and the immediate dismissal of Pikitup managing director, Amanda Nair, whom they accuse of corruption. Even though Nair was cleared of charges of impropriety relating to a R263m tender in 2015, Samwu has maintained allegations of wrongdoing.

Pikitup workers went on an illegal strike on Wednesday – the fourth one since November 2015.

An management ultimatum to its employees to return to work by noon on Thursday was ignored.

The Johannesburg’s waste management utility released a statement on Sunday saying it was “issuing pre-dismissal notices as a result of the workers’ failure to return to work on Thursday, 10 March. The workers also failed to heed the call by their own union to return to work on Friday, 11 March”.

Instead, they intensified the strike, took to the streets and left a trail of rubbish in their wake all over the city center of Johannesburg.

On Friday Pikitup striking workers clashed with the police, resulting in some injuries.

Samwu has since urged striking workers to return to work while negotiations continue.

“Following the unruly behaviour of workers during the recent illegal strike where the City’s assets were damaged, 19 workers were arrested. Eleven of them were released due to lack of evidence while the others are set to appear in court on charges of malicious damage to property and intimidation. More arrests are expected,” Pikitup said.

Samwu’s regional deputy secretary, Paul Tlhabang, could not be reached for comment about the dismissals.

Pikitup has apologised to affected residents and businesses, advising them to take out their bins as per their normal refuse schedule starting from Monday.

They have contracted private companies to remove waste and clean up the city.

African News Agency