eThekwini Municipality has approach the central bargaining council to deliberate on the grievances of striking workers.

Municipal workers have embarked on protest action following allegations that MK Veterans employed by the municipality were given undue pay rises. This has resulted in streets being blockaded and water turned off to parts of the city. Workers are asking to be elevated to grade 10.

“After lengthy consultations between us and the union representatives we have decided to refer the matter to the central bargaining council for further negotiations and determination. Discussions at bargaining council will commence on Monday and are expected to be concluded in 30 days,” said City Manager Sipho Nzuza.

“We urge our employees to desist from violent strikes that cripple the operations of the city. Recently we had to spend a lot resources and money to clean up the mess that was left behind by our workers in the central business district.”

eThekwini Municipality has obtained a court interdict making it unlawful to participate in the ongoing strike, and a principle of a work no pay will apply to employees who do not report for work, some of which could face disciplinary action.

Nzuza also apologised to residents whose access to basic services has been disrupted.

“I welcome the court interdict that was granted against the illegal strike. I also strongly condemn in the strongest terms the illegal strike by municipal workers. The damage to property and basic infrastructure during this illegal strike has seriously derailed our plans aimed at dealing with the after-effects of devastating floods,” said eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede.

Mayor dispels favouring of military veterans

“I want to dispel the notion that the municipality favours military veterans and do not care about other municipal workers, especially those who are members of SAMWU. This is a blue lie and we believe that such a narrative is aimed at sowing division and weakening the municipality,” said Gumede.

“I want to reiterate our position that the Freedom Charter will continue to guide us on what type of an environment should this municipality create for workers under the new dispensation. Better living and working conditions for all municipal workers is not a favour but a constitutional right which the democratic government has to uphold at all times.

“Decent work is the foundation of the fight against poverty and inequality. The creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods is central to the new government’s agenda. As the municipality we are committed to ensuring the advancement of this agenda,’ she continued.

“EThekwini Municipality will continue to ensure that military veterans, youth, women and people with disabilities are supported in accordance with labour relations act and Military Veterans Act.”