Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Municipalities up wage increase offer but protests set to continue

THOUSANDS of striking municipal workers in Nelson Mandela Bay dumped rubbish across streets and trashed flower-beds during the first day of their strike yesterday.

And a revised national wage increase offer of 13% failed to end the strike, which is set to continue until at least tomorrow.

Marches by striking workers were the order of the day countrywide. Police kept a watchful eye as protesters emptied refuse bins in the streets and harassed hawkers, but water cannons and rubber bullets were used to control crowds in several cities.

In Port Elizabeth, 2500 to 3000 workers joined a march which started at the corner of First Avenue and Ring Road, Newton Park, just after 11am.

The workers, watched closely by a heavy police contingent, continued down Cape Road, turning into Rink Street and continuing down Western Road before arriving at City Hall just after 1pm.

Angry workers left a huge mess behind them, with
some emptying refuse bins into the streets and kicking flowers planted along Cape Road and in Whites Road, Central.

Many were carrying bright SACP banners, blowing vuvuzelas, chanting and wearing bright red union T-shirts.

After the march, some speakers took to a makeshift podium and addressed the crowd before a memorandum of their demands was given to a South African Local Government Association (Salga) representative and councillor Anne-Marie van Jaarsveld. Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers‘ Union members – on strike countrywide since last week – joined municipal workers in yesterday‘s march.

Despite the massive turnout of thousands of people, essential services in Nelson Mandela Bay still continued. Health, traffic, elect
ricity and fire department workers did not join the march.

SA Municipal Workers‘ Union (Samwu) president Petrus Mashishi told the strikers: “We are doing what unions are meant to do. Unions are there to keep the workers happy, not to keep politicians happy.”

He said several important issues had to be address
ed before workers were satisfied, including housing subsidies and the filling of vacant posts. “The workers will decide when the strike will be over,” he told The Herald.

“We do not know what decision they will take. We will have meetings (today) as well, so the strike will probably continue.” Mashishi said he had received updates on the action across the country and was happy everything was relatively peaceful.

Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) regional chairman Marius Matth
eus said workers who took part in yesterday‘s strike should be proud because everyone was standing together as one unit. “We want people to know that it is not just about the money,” he said.

“There are many other grievances as well. “In some places in the Eastern Cape, workers earn as little as R2000 a month. Service delivery is null and void. “We just want the people of South Africa to make a d
ecent living.

“Every
one in the fire, electricity and traffic departments and some health workers all went to work. There was no disruption of these services.” Samwu is demanding a 15% wage increase or R2500, whichever is greater.

It also wants a minimum wage of R5000 a month, while Imatu wants a 13% raise and a minimum monthly wage of R4020.

Salga called on unions last night to return to the negotiating table, saying it had already “significantly” upped its wage offer from 1
0,5% to 13%. “Salga believes that negotiations are the most preferred vehicle to nurture industrial action, since this is a critical prerequisite for quality service delivery and development,” said executive director Mzwanele Yawa. But Samwu said the strike would continue until at least tomorrow.

We are in the process of getting mandates from our members across the country on a new offer, which was the outcome of protracted negotiations between the parties over the weekend,” the union said.

“These discussions will continue until tomorrow, when a national executive committee will convene to assess the strike and determine a way forward.” Bay municipal spokesman Luncedo Njezula said there had been no major disruptions and crowds had dispersed from City Hall peacefully. “Our services were not at full strength, but that was expected.

“However, essential services like fire and traffic were all still at work. We received some reports that workers were intimidated, but we cannot verify those (yet).” Njezula could not give a percentage of municipal workers who were on strike until he had received attendance registers from the city‘s various directorates. Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers‘ Union regional secretary Sakhiwo Zak said there had been almost a 100% turnout of its Bay members.

“Our strike is not just about the wages,” he said.

“It is also about decent working conditions for everyone. We also need six-month maternity leave for our members. We need time to build future leadership.”


MESSING IT UP... Striking municipal workers in Port Alfred turned the coastal town‘s central business district into a virtual landfill during a protest march yesterday
.

14 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

Even animals know not to shit in their own backyards. These people live, work and play in these towns yet they do this? They are worse than animals. In any other country, these people would be marched off to jail and charged. At some point the line has to be drawn. Start with the union leaders.

Treacle Bender said...

..doberman, it's the very same union leaders running the country into the ground...they who have more power that the prez himself..

I'm an eternal optimistic pessimist...believe me if I say that our country is already way past the point of saving. We are spiralling downwards at a pretty pace..

Doberman said...

@ TB, aye, I fear you may be right.

Viking said...

do the union leaders even care? I'm sure they live in the untouched leafy suburbs. They face absolutely no pressure either way, just cause shit and sit back and watch the fun.

Anonymous said...

This will only stop when this savage destroyers are shot down and killed en masse while doing their deeds.

Anonymous said...

All of which brings us to the following:

1. WTF possessed 75% of the whites to vote YES in a referendum,; the premise of which was to talk, not to hand over the country to these useless shitskins?

2. WTF do the useless shitskins who voted for the ANC en masse the 4th round think of more empty unfulfilled promises?

3. WTF is it going to take before we throw these useless shitskins off our backs?

TKB. Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! And then wonder why the magic money tap does not flow...

Totally useless, unproductive wastes of skin.

Doberman said...

@ anon 5:25, ditto. The Pandora's Box was opened in 1992 with the slight of hand and connivance of traitor Fu*kWad de Klerk and his cohorts. Once released one cannot close the box. Yes, indeed, what will it take..?

Dachshund said...

@Dobes: SLEIGHT of hand!! In any case, FW didn't have much of a hand to play, SA was sanctioned into oblivion by 1992.

There were just papers all over the CBD of the sleepy town where I live yesterday. Who cares? Not I. It gave me an excuse not to pay the carguard with his little meter: I said I was "on strike" as well.

Loggi said...

1. WTF possessed 75% of the whites to vote YES in a referendum,; the premise of which was to talk, not to hand over the country to these useless shitskins?

Quite right Anon

I was one of those idiots who believed in the teachings of the day , that all men have good in them and if given the opportunity we may live happily ever after in this rainbow nation utopia.

Well so much for that KAK idea

Now of course we can see with our very own eyes that everything the right wing was warning us about at that time has come true.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is TKB?

Viking said...

SIX MONTHS MATERNITY LEAVE????????
Do they think they live in Sweden? Given the high rate of reproduction amongst certain melanin-enhanced members of our society, I suspect none of them would ever work again. At the guvment's expense of course.

Exzanian said...

Ha-Ha! Viking, I can actually visualise the throbbing vein in your temple! 6 months maternity leave. Crazy!!! After defecating in their own backyard and trashing the place like animals, they expect first world recompense and security????
Yah, I too rue the day I voted "YES!" in that cursed referendum.

AMB said...

@Anon 30 July 2009 1:34 AM: TKB = Typical Kaffir Behaviour

Dachshund said...

Maternity leave is a UIF issue, not an employer problem. If they want to increase their contributions to UIF, sure, they can have longer maternity leave. But you can't have maternity leave every year on UIF.