The City of Tshwane has come from the back foot to win a battle against the strike action by its workers after the Labour Court granted it a permanent interdict against the unrest on Friday.
The cash-strapped metro was relieved by the ruling after the SA Local Government Bargaining Council earlier dismissed its application to be exempted from implementing a wage deal reached on September 15, 2021, as part of a three-year salary and wage agreement.
Workers in the capital municipality have been on a seven-week strike, entering its eighth week, demanding a 5.4% pay increase that has fallen on deaf ears.
The bargaining council, through its commissioner Eleanor Hambidge last week ordered the municipality to fork out millions to service the pay increases.
Services within the municipality have been severely affected with uncollected waste, closed down health clinics, unavailability of buses, water and electricity disruptions and all fuelled by violence.
The metro obtained an interim interdict in July, but the strike action continued.
The City approached the court again in Braamfontein on an urgent basis and obtained a permanent interdict.
City of Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said he trusted that the strikers would comply with the permanent court order and return to work to improve service delivery.
“It is important to note that the court restricts employees from participating in unlawful strike action.
“In addition, this permanent interdict confirms that strikers are restrained from performing any acts of destruction of any private or public property or performing any acts of intimidation towards any of the city’s employees,” said Mashigo.
He added that the municipality’s management were not backing down from issuing dismissal letters to those who took part in the unprotected strike.
He said that to date 123 workers had been issued with the letters with more to come.
However the SA municipal Workers Union has vowed to defend the fired workers and make sure they return to work.
The union’s president Nelson Makgotho said even though Nehawu was not part of the strike they would make sure they defend the employees.
He said: “We have indicated that Samwu did not sanction any strike. There was no strike in Tshwane.
“Our own member was shot and there is no way that Samwu could go and fight its own members. City management and the political authority in Tshwane were not able to manage this process and people were going to hijack the entire process and the blame was put on Samwu.
“But Samwu can’t take responsibility. Thuggery and criminality should be taken away from Samwu. The police should do their work and if it’s found that a Samwu member was involved the law must take its course,” Makgotho said.