Rubbish collectors promise Joburg a filthy Christmas
IT’S GOING to be a stinky Christmas for Joburg residents as striking Pikitup workers vow to keep the rubbish piling up in the streets if their demands aren’t met.
The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) is demanding a R10 000 basic salary for Pikitup workers and wants the company’s managing director Amanda Nair to be axed in the light of accusations of corrupt practices and nepotism.
Samwu national spokesman Papikie Mohale said the union had sent a letter to Nair requesting a meeting, but she had refused.
Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu claimed it had never received any formal communication from the union. This week the company obtained a court interdict preventing workers from continuing with their “unprotected strike”.
Mohale said members were prepared to continue striking until Christmas. But Mashapu warned if the workers did not comply with the court order, due process would unfold in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
The company this week was forced to employ casual workers to clean the city, but a trashed Joburg centre and Braamfontein still looked a mess last night.
Mohale has lashed out at the company’s decision to hire casual labour because “this is not in line with the Labour Relations Act”. He said Pikitup employed people for three months and kept extending their contracts but never gave them permanent jobs.
“The same is happening with jozi@work (the city’s job creation initiative). ( It) replaces workers and offer(s) them no benefits like medical aid, provident funds and, in some cases, UIF.”
He said the union intended to prevent the casual workers from carrying out their duties.
“The City of Joburg should brace itself for a dirty Christmas if our members’ grievances are not met,” he said.
“Since garbage bins are Pikitup employees’ tools of trade, what they do with the bins when they strike is up to them,” Mohale told Talk Radio 702.
Pikitup workers are the most poorly paid of all Joburg’s municipal entities and salary inequality is a concern for all members, he said.
Salaries of Pikitup staff should be evaluated and be on the same scale as employees of other entities such as City Power, Joburg Water and City Parks, said Mohale.
“A general worker at Pikitup is paid R6 000 and all other entities’ salaries are at R10 000. We are trying to bridge the payment gap.”
Mashapu said the conditions of the contracts for the casual workers, which areas they would work in and Pikitup’s plan of action to clean up Joburg streets by Christmas would be discussed at a briefing session today.
The strike hit all 11 Pikitup depots. Mashapu said Pikitup was “working tirelessly to ensure that services are restored as soon as possible”.
ANGER: Workers trash a street during a Samwu march in Johannesburg’s CBD.