Rub­bish col­lec­tors prom­ise Joburg a filthy Christ­mas

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - RAB­BIE SERUMULA

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.

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