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Tshwane says workers still striking despite Samwu call to return to work

Tshwane has urged striking workers to stop all strike action and return to work. File photo.
Tshwane has urged striking workers to stop all strike action and return to work. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink has urged the leadership of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) to ensure the “no strike message is clear” for members as the city says the strike by disgruntled workers has not stopped.

Workers have been striking for more than a month despite a court interdict. 

It has led to disruptions in services such as electricity repairs, water restoration and refuse removal. There have been instances of contractors being intimidated.

Tshwane workers downed tools as the city failed to implement wage increases, saying it is unaffordable due to its financial situation. The city's increase exemption application at the bargaining council is due to be heard this week.

Brink on Wednesday said union members have been urged to return to work.

“While the city notes this development, the call to return to work has come too late as the damage is done. Our residents have suffered numerous service delivery interruptions.

“The reality is that on the ground the strike is not over. We are still seeing so-called go-slows and significant work stoppages by employees who refuse to follow work instructions. There are also ongoing acts of violence and intimidation directed at staff and service providers.”

Brink urged Samwu's leadership to “further engage their members” to ensure the “no strike message is clear for all”.

“To our residents, this five-week unprotected strike has caused significant difficulties for the city. We have seen employees shot for carrying out their duties, service providers attacked, property destroyed and in a recent incident a fire hydrant was blocked with cement so firefighters could not execute their work of saving city assets and property.

“The damage is so severe that even if there is a complete return to work there are costs associated with this unprotected strike that the city will have to bear for a significant period. We have also seen the trust relationship between residents and the city deteriorating with services not being delivered,” he said.


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