No end in sight for unlawful strike by Tshwane municipal workers
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Pretoria - There is no end in sight for the unlawful strike by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in Tshwane.
While workers did not convene outside Tshwane House yesterday, there was a heavy presence of police officers in the morning to stave off possible protest action.
Mayor Randall Williams, however, has slammed the union for disrupting services in the city this week.
Workers have expressed their unhappiness that the City has not communicated when it would implement the 3.5% salary increment, backdated to July 2021, as part of the collective agreement signed by both Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union with the SA Local Government Association in September 2021.
Williams labelled Samwu as an ANC partner, and accused the union of ruining service delivery in Tshwane.
The unprotected protest action continued this week after starting last week, despite an interdict obtained by the City at the Labour Court to halt the strike.
However, Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said it was concerning that Williams "has resorted to politicising the demands by workers for the implementation of salaries and wages as agreed in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council".
"The utterances by the mayor have not sat well with workers, who have now gone four months without a salary increase.
“Instead of attending to the legitimate demands of workers he has been quoted as saying that workers are fighting political battles.
“We want to categorically state that ours is not a political battle but a battle for the implementation of salary and wage increases as agreed in the bargaining council," he said.
The City said, in a media statement, that the strike negatively affected the Tshwane Bus Service and A Re Yeng operations.
It also disrupted bulk waste collection to businesses in the inner-city, Rosslyn depot has been blocked and the Lyttleton office forcefully closed.
"Some employees have been subjected to intimidation while others have been violently removed at the Wonderboom electricity depot," the City said.
According to the municipality, the Akasia driving licence testing centre closed its doors after staff were "intimidated and forced to join the strike by their protesting colleagues".
"While other services have not been severely impacted by the strike, there is, however, the likelihood of the turnaround time to service interruptions regarding electricity, water and sanitation being affected," the City said.
The City further said that it was in the process of quantifying the damages and costs incurred during the illegal strike, and would "issue the bill against Samwu for the wasteful costs incurred as a result of this unlawful strike".