Metro staff stage picket to highlight grievances

Municipal workers gather in front of the Port Elizabeth City Hall yesterday to discuss their grievances. Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Municipal workers downed tools for at least three hours yesterday as hundreds of them picketed in front of the Port Elizabeth City Hall. Members of the South African Municipal Workers Union parked their refuse trucks behind the old post office building and held a general meeting at Vuyisile Mini Square.

The workers are demanding various allowance payments which they say are due to them.

These include a longservice bonus which they want back-dated to 2000, a risk allowance and an hour overtime payment for those working through their lunch break.

The municipality, however, said the gathering by its staff yesterday had not been authorised and that issues raised by the workers were under discussion by management and unions.

City manager Johann Mettler said they had declined permission for the union to hold the meeting, but it had got permission from the chief magistrate.

“The normal HR processes will be applied in respect of those staff members who absented themselves from work without prior permission,” he said.

It was not clear if any services had been interrupted by the meeting, he said.

Addressing the workers yesterday, Samwu regional chairwoman Nomvula Hadi said the coalition government had promised to do things differently but had failed.

“In [our] first meeting with the mayor [Athol Trollip] he said this administration would make sure we operated within the parameters of the law,” she said.

“They are as equally corrupt as the previous administration. We will show you the corruption of this administration. This council is an animal farm.”

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