THE South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has vowed to bring services within the City of Johannesburg to a standstill on Thursday as thousands of their members embark on industrial action in support of the striking Metrobus drivers.
Yesterday workers from all entities of the council, including emergency services, rubbish collectors Pikitup, fresh produce markets, Johannesburg Water, City Power, Johannesburg Zoo, housing and health departments came out in support of the Thursday strike at a Samwu meeting.
"Operations will come to a standstill on Thursday in support of the striking bus drivers. An injury to one is an injury to all. Backwards never," said Samwu Johannesburg branch secretary Dumisani Langa.
The meeting, held at Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg, also served as a report back on the progress of the wage talks between the union and the city.
Union officials commended the bus drivers, saying they had shown courage in their fight for better salaries. The strike is now in its fifth week.
Langa told the cheering crowd that the strike would continue until the council acceded to their demands.
Giving a progress report on the wage negotiations, Langa said they were heading for a dispute because the council had refused to make a better offer.
"When we started the annual wage negotiations they told us about the rising inflation. We demanded 26percent and in what we think is an insult they offered six percent. We went down to 18percent and they offered 8,3percent. We reverted to 26percent because they continue insulting us," Langa said.
He said they could not agree on other issues such as housing subsidies and correcting discrepancies in salary scales in the council entities.
City spokesperson Gabu Tugwana blamed the union for the strike, saying it had walked out of a meeting.
He said the matter would be heard in the Labour Court in an attempt to avert a secondary strike.