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SAHRC, public protector urged to intervene to end strike by Tshwane municipal workers

A file picture of municipal workers protesting outside Tshwane House. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

A file picture of municipal workers protesting outside Tshwane House. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 23, 2023


Pretoria - More political parties have joined the call for an end to the SA Municipal Workers Union’s (Samwu) strike action in the City of Tshwane, which began three weeks ago.

The striking workers have been demanding a 5.4% salary increase from July. However, their demand seems to have fallen on deaf ears, with the municipality saying it can’t afford it.

The strike was declared illegal and unprotected and has seen service delivery affected leaving residents with disruptions of water and electricity while waste has not been collected for weeks.

Cope is the latest political party to call for an intervention from the SA Human Rights Commission to defuse the tensions between the management of the metro and the striking municipal workers.

Party spokesperson Dennis Bloem called on the commission, as well as the public protector to urgently intervene.

“In the interest of the public, these institutions must not sit back and wait until people have died,” he said.

Bloem added that the strike had put the health of residents at risk as services were suspended since the workers embarked on the strike three weeks ago.

The Pretoria News reported that rubbish was piling up in parts of the city because of the strike putting resident’s health at risk.

Meanwhile, Cosatu has shown interest in joining the strike in solidarity with the workers.

The DA last week called out Samwu, urging it to take “immediate and decisive” action against striking municipal employees.

The DA’s Tshwane caucus chairperson, Jacqui Uys, at the time said: “While Samwu may not have officially sanctioned this strike, its lack of action to stop the violence and intimidation is deeply concerning.

“It’s high time for the union to step up, guide its members towards reason and restraint, and lead them through lawful bargaining processes.”

The city council has since issued letters of dismissal to about 100 employees for taking part in the unlawful strike.

Recently the Pretoria News reported that the EFF was calling for the reinstatement of municipal workers who were fired after the City of Tshwane gave them an ultimatum to either return to work or face termination of their contracts.

EFF regional leader Obakeng Ramabodu called for the immediate reinstatement of the municipal employees.

“We call for the reinstatement of the workers who are breadwinners of their families.

“The inhumane treatment by the city council needs to be contained before we put this city further into chaos,” he said.

Ramabodu said there was an urgent need for the meeting to allow council to “have a debate which should come up with the solution needed, we need to provide leadership”.

“The city council led by the incapable mayor (Cilliers Brink) clearly is just reactionary machinery that resorts to all manner of ineffective and desperate measures by dismissing employees,” he said.

Pretoria News