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Johannesburg Roads Agency protest over salaries causes traffic upset

Workers at Johannesburg Road Agency have blocked several roads with various items in protest over pay.
Workers at Johannesburg Road Agency have blocked several roads with various items in protest over pay.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) employees blocked several roads with litter and burning tyres earlier on Friday in a protest over salaries‚ causing traffic congestion in the CBD.

The agency's spokesperson‚ Siyabonga Nodu‚ said that staff were demanding "historical pay progression".

Nodu‚ however‚ added that the JRA did not have a pay progression policy.

"There is no policy with JRA that says that we should pay historical pay progression. During the negotiations they were told that‚ even though it could be looked into ... there won't be money to pay for that historical pay progression‚" said Nodu.

He said there was a proposal on Wednesday that the parties go for arbitration.

"We were still waiting for a response until we saw the workers coming to our office today [Friday] and have that protest‚ which they never communicated to us.

"They insisted that they want the managing director to speak to them and give them an update on the matter‚" he said.

Nodu said the workers only left after they were addressed and had questions answered by the managing director.

"Where things are‚ the matter is still perfectly internal and can still be resolved internally.

"Once we go on arbitration the decision of the arbitrator will be final and binding on all parties and will have to be implemented."

South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) regional secretary Bafana Zungu denied that the workers had taken to the streets‚ saying "the streets are their workplace".

He said workers were fighting for progression in their careers.

"You can't earn the same salary started with for three years. There needs to be some sort of progression."

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