Pretoria - The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the City of Tshwane will today head for a showdown over wage increases at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council in Centurion.
Talks between parties will take place amid threats the strike by Tshwane workers that has had the capital in its grip over the past two days is set to continue.
This is despite the urgent court interdict obtained by the municipality in a bid to force the workers to suspend their strike action.
Samwu-affiliated workers yesterday ratcheted up pressure on the municipality to accede to their demand of an 18% salary increase.
The union said the increase must be in line with the ranking of the municipality from category 9 to 10, effected by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in 2017.
Mayoral spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane said: “The strike undermines the rule of law, especially after the City obtained an interdict against the action.”
She also confirmed the City would enter into talks with Samwu at the bargaining council and denounced the strike as illegal.
Workers entered day two of the strike after the late-night meeting on Monday between their union representatives and acting mayor Abel Tau failed to yield positive results.
Taunyane said: “It was not a fruitful discussion; that is why they are still continuing protesting.”
A meeting was held by Tau and the City executive to discuss a plan of action, likely to be made known during the bargaining council session.
Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said the late-night meeting with the City didn't produce something to write home about.
He said the union was looking forward to ventilating issues at the bargaining council. He indicated that the institution was likely to issue an order for Samwu to go on strike should the two parties reach a stalemate.
The ANC in Tshwane castigated the acting city manager, Lorette Tredoux, also the Governance and Support Officer and Human Capital head, for paying senior managers 18% increases.
Regional spokesperson Bafuze Yabo said: "The ANC maintains its position of supporting the action and work of Samwu as a labour union. We have full confidence in the ability of Samwu to represent the workers competently towards the resolution of the impasse."
Yabo said the ANC was monitoring developments intimately and would get involved should there be a deadlock and political disagreement or stalemate between Samwu and the employer."
Meanwhile, the business community has denounced the unlawful strike as starting to take a toll on their operations.
Taxi drivers expressed frustration with the disruptions caused by protesting workers, saying they had seriously affected their business.
They harboured fears that they would not be able to repay loans for their vehicles after they lost profits due to the protest.
Thomas Ndlovu, who operates a taxi from Thaba Tshwane to the CBD, bemoaned that disruptions on the roads forced him to spend more than two hours on a single trip to his destination.
He was worried that too much petrol was wasted on the road, forcing drivers to spend more money than they could afford.
“It is month-end and most of us are still owing loans to the banks for our vehicles. The worry is that they might be repossessed. It is really bad and we don't know when the situation is going to end,” Ndlovu said.
His sentiment was shared by most shop owners, who closed their shops because they felt threatened by protesters.
They lamented that their businesses were hard hit by the protest, which made them to lose out on profits.
They had to close their shops for the better part of the day to protect themselves from possible harm.
The stick-wielding protesters went on the rampage, trashing dustbins on the roads and blockading traffic.
Buses and municipal trucks were used to block the roads, impacting negatively on the flow of traffic and business operations.
Litter bins were turned upside down and streets such Madiba, Thabo Sehume, Lillian Ngoyi and Francis Baard were strewn with rubbish. Bad smells from the decomposed garbage permeated the air, causing a possible health havoc.