South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) regional secretary in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, Melikhaya Kortjian, is adamant that municipal workers will continue with their strike till all their demands are met.
Municipal workers in the metro downed tools this week, affecting services such as refuse collection. They are demanding to be paid COVID-19 allowances, saying South African Local Government Association (Salga) issued a directive in May last year for all municipalities to negotiate this allowance.
Kortjian says the metro has not put any offer on the table. “That is why today as SAMWU in the region, we are on industrial action because of a non-commitment from the employer. Negotiations have since collapsed and that is why now we are on the streets.
“We will be on the streets indefinitely up until our demands are met. The other issue is the issue of scarce skill allowance, which we have resolved in the local labour forum of 2018, that members who qualify for scarce skills allowance should be paid, but up until now that has not happened.”
Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Nqaba Bhanga, condemns the intimidation of workers who are not participating in the strike, and destruction of property. He says this is an illegal action.
“Our residences are being held at ransom by a minuet group of people who are engaging in an illegal action. On behalf of the city, as the representative of the residence, we are not going to allow this type of intimidation. Therefore we have instructed the administration to speedily act in protecting our rights to be able to access services and also protecting those workers who have got a right to go and work. “