THE illegal strike by Pikitup workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in Johannesburg entered its third day on Friday, with workers vowing to intensify their protest action.
Negotiations between Samwu and Pikitup management on Thursday reached deadlock.
Angry workers then took to the streets, tipping over rubbish bins, strewing garbage and refuse all over the roads in Johannesburg city center.
Samwu was incensed by the failure of Pikitup management to increase their salaries, especially general workers, who demand salaries ranging between R9,000 and R10,000. Samwu also demands an immediate removal of Pikitup managing director, Amanda Nair.
Samwu’s deputy regional secretary, Paul Tlhabang, on Friday said the workers were really adamant this time around not to capitulate under Pikitup management’s threats.
“The strike continues and we will continue to engage in protest action. Our members are adamant not to go back to work until they get what they want,” Tlhabang said.
Tlhabang said Samwu was making good on its promise to deliver consolidated allegations of corruption against Nair to the City and the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“As I’m talking to you, we are on our way to the Office of the City manager to deliver a dossier,” he said.
Pikitup spokesperson, Jacky Mashapu, refused to comment but referred African News Agency (ANA) to a statement issued on Thursday.
In the statement, Pikitup issued a final ultimatum to workers to return to work by noon on Thursday or face summary dismissal, which the workers ignored.
Pikitup first said all employees who embarked on “illegal work stoppages” would be affected and the “no work, no pay principle” in which workers’ salaries would be docked for 10 days of work over a three-months period.
The utility denied media claims that some workers earned as little as R5,000 per month, saying they were complying with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) collective agreement entry level minimum salary of R6,014.34 per month.
Pikitup also said: “Management has activated a recovery plan to ensure that services are restored and areas that were affected by the most recent stoppage are recovered. Pikitup will continue to update residents on their contingency plan on a daily basis.” – ANA