Vusi Ndlovu, Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa
Johannesburg municipal workers started their wage strike yesterday in peaceful fashion.
City spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said the strike had a minimum effect on service delivery because only administrative staff stopped working.
Members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) were granted a court order last week allowing them to down tools until tomorrow. Metro police disputed Samwu's claim that many of its officers had joined striking council workers.
Samwu issued a statement claiming that 3000 Metro officers had joined the strike, and that only 480 had remained on duty. Metro police spokesman Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the strike had not affected its services.
"I don't know where they got their figures from because we only have 2500 offices on our payroll and half of them are on duty," Minnaar said.
Samwu also claimed that about 2500 workers from the health department and fire brigade were on strike, with only 600 on duty in terms of a minimum service level agreement.
"It is still early, but it is premature for me to say we are not affected, but 70percent of our offices are running smoothly. We are monitoring the strike closely," said Modingoane.
A crowd of about 2000 marched to the Metro centre earlier in the day, but many dispersed when it started raining just after 1pm. Samwu's Johannesburg chairman Moatlhodi Mongale said the strikers were demanding that:
l Part-time workers be paid the same salary as permanent workers with the same experience;
l All workers be eligible for salary increases after a year;
l The city manager, executive directors and directors be employed on fixed five-year management terms;
l Workers be provided with transport to and from work; and
l An end to appointing casual staff.