The strike in Nelson Mandela Bay has now been underway for three working days.
The strike commenced on Thursday last week with the municipality’s largest union, SAMWU, downing tools. Their demands were delivered to the City Hall on Friday.
The second municipal union IMATU, joined the strike action today, and was joined by SAMWU when it delivered its demands to City Hall today.
The strike, by both unions, is protected.
The official strike certificate is based on only one issue – the matter of long service bonus backpay, which has been the subject of negotiation in the municipality’s Local Labour Forum over the past few weeks.
However, both unions have provided lists of this and other issues that they wish to have addressed.
An internal response to every one of the listed issues has been compiled, and supplied to the Executive Mayor. It is important to note that the Mayor has received this information because the memorandum from SAMWU was addressed to him.
However, the person responsible for negotiating the municipality through and out of the strike action will be the City Manager, Mr Johann Mettler. Mr Mettler has been required to be out of town, but will return today. He and the Mayor will consult and set the negotiating wheels in motion.
The options on the table with respect to the long service bonus backpay will be discussed by the Mayoral Committee on Wednesday, if not before then.
The strike action is being monitored carefully through a Joint Operations Centre. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of intimidation reported, but essential services are being rendered as required by law. Advocate Bono, chairperson of the CCMA’s Essential Services Committee, will meet with both unions tomorrow to emphasize and clarify municipal essential services.
The municipality is committed to speedy resolution of the strike. We are concerned that negative impacts on our communities should be minimised. We also wish to minimize wage losses being suffered by striking workers by ensuring that they return to work, and continue negotiations via existing structures, if at all possible, and if necessary.
A further update will be issued this morning.
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