Tshwane warns of continued service disruptions as Samwu affiliated workers protest
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Pretoria – The City of Tshwane has informed residents of a possible continuation of service disruptions as employees affiliated to labour union South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) protest following a stand-off with the municipality over the implementation of a wage agreement and the once-off benchmarking payments.
In expressing their anger and frustration with the municipality, workers emptied dustbins in the middle of busy streets and littered the roads with rubbish.
Traffic was hugely disrupted by the demonstrators, who marched along Madiba and Pretorius streets.
They chanted Struggle songs and held up placards bearing messages denouncing the stance by the city and calling for the implementation of salary increases with immediate effect.
Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said on Monday the service disruption was likely to continue despite the city having been granted an interim order by the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Friday evening, declaring the strike action by Samwu “unlawful and unprotected”.
“Tshwane applied for an urgent interdict to the Labour Court on Friday after employees affiliated to Samwu embarked on a service interruption spree, opening fire hydrants, halting trucks from collecting waste, disposing waste in some parts of the (Pretoria) CBD and blocking buses from operating and disrupting traffic flow in the CBD,” said Bokaba.
“The interim judgment has ordered Samwu members to immediately disperse and are interdicted and restrained from participating in the unlawful/unprotected strike action and prohibited from performing any acts of destruction of any public or private property or from intimidating any of the city's employees not partaking in the strike action.”
He said services including bus operations, licensing and waste collection, especially around the Pretoria CBD, are likely to be affected if the “unrest” continues.
“Management will continuously assess the situation in respect of bus operations, and will only release the buses when it is safe to do so as they wouldn't want to risk the situation where our buses are used to block traffic in the CBD, neither would management want to put the lives of the drivers and commuters at risk,” said Bokaba.
“Furthermore, waste collection to businesses and bulk waste services may also be impacted. However, we don't anticipate any challenges regarding domestic waste collection. Waste disposal sites, however, remain vulnerable during strike situations.”
Some clinics are also likely to be affected as well, but the city believes the disruptions would be minimal.
“The city will take a hardline stance against anyone who violates the court order and will strive to ensure that its customers are not unnecessarily inconvenienced by the unprotected and unlawful strike action as declared by the Labour Court,” said Bokaba.
He said Tshwane is pinning its hopes on law enforcement to maintain law and order and enforce compliance with the interim court order.