Refuse, traffic services affected by municipal strike

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal workers are on strike
Nelson Mandela Bay municipal workers are on strike
Image: Nomazima Nkosi

Refuse removal and traffic and licensing services are among the municipal services affected by the SA Municipal Workers Union strike at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

The strike, which the municipality confirmed is a legal strike, began on Thursday morning.

Staff were barred from leaving the Lillian Diedericks and Mfanasekhaya Gqobose buildings this morning, while all customers were prevented from entering to query their accounts.

Municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said some customer care centres were also affected by the strike while the Uitenhage traffic and licensing centre is currently not operational.

“Only Korsten [traffic and licensing centre] is operational at this stage. Since traffic services is an essential service, we will instruct staff to return to work.

“If this call is not heeded, they will be interdicted,” Baron said.

The Samwu members are striking over backpay for long service bonuses, a wage review as well as the reinstatement of suspended workers who are sitting at home for more than three months without a disciplinary hearing having started.

Baron said only the long service bonus was raised, but not the other two issues.

“Steps were taken to try to reach an amicable resolution in this matter but due to the current nature of demands, the mayoral committee and the municipal council will have to reconsider this matter as it has major fiscal implications for the municipality,” Baron said.

Earlier on Thursday morning, about 400 workers gathered in Govan Mbeki Avenue, blocking off roads, singing struggle songs while swinging sticks in the air.

Samwu regional secretary Mqondisi Nodongwe said the strike was indefinite while a “total shutdown” was planned for Friday.

More on this story in The Herald tomorrow.