The strike by Nelson Mandela Bay municipal refuse workers is over.
The strike ended yesterday after union members and the municipality agreed to certain terms put on the table. However, some issues must still be resolved. The end to the strike – which started on Monday last week – followed a number of meetings between the municipality and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
Among other issues, workers were demanding backpay for working through their lunch hours and tea breaks since 2013 – they did not have records for the previous years.
Although they had initially demanded back-pay for 24 months, a compromise was eventually reached last week, with the city agreeing to a once-off year’s payout, which could cost it millions of rands.
This is to cushion the blow of taking away the extra R1 300 the more than 100 staff in waste management had been receiving illegally every month for the past three years.
Samwu regional chairwoman Nomvula Hadi said the workers would go back to work today.
“The municipality has agreed to pay a once-off year’s payout,” she said.
“There will also be an investigation on the issues of risk allowance and ‘contract 99’ [the people who have been on contract since 1999] and Samwu will be part of these investigations.
“The findings . . . have to be tabled [before] mayor Athol Trollip on Wednesday next week and, from there, we will go to the local labour forum for further discussions.”
Rubbish bags were still piled up along Govan Mbeki Avenue and several other streets in the city yesterday, with many of the bags ripped and refuse blowing around.
Waste- management staff, supervisors and workers not on strike have been collecting refuse with the assistance of two service providers.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality would work around the clock to address the wastecollection backlog.
“NMB apologises profusely for the inconvenience caused by the strike,” he said.
Trollip said 130 Expanded Public Works Programme workers would help tomorrow to clean up the city.
He apologised for the uncollected refuse.