The municipal refuse workers’ strike in Nelson Mandela Bay intensified yesterday as angry staff toppled over dustbins and damaged public infrastructure in Port Elizabeth’s CBD.
Protesting in front of the Lillian Diedericks building in Govan Mbeki Avenue, the workers demanded back pay for working through their lunch hours and tea breaks in 2000.
As the strike entered its third day yesterday, the municipality said the no-work, no-pay principle would apply.
The city and union leaders had not reached an agreement by yesterday afternoon.
Refuse has not been collected since Monday, with the municipality saying contingency plans would be put in place to limit the effect of the strike on residents.
Govan Mbeki Avenue was filthy as concrete dustbins were detached from the ground, and railings along the Integrated Public Transport System route were unhinged.
SA Municipal Workers Union leaders distanced themselves from the unruliness, saying there were other elements involved. Samwu chairwoman Nomvula Hadi said their members had not damaged property in previous strikes.