Municipal workers in Nelson Mandela Bay gathered in their numbers outside City Hall today as strike action continued.
Nelson Mandela Bay streets and homes are lined with rubbish after workers downed tools over the issue of back-pay for the last service bonus.
The strike action has resulted in the no-collection of refuse affecting all areas in the city.
While the city centre reeks of rubbish, residents were asked last week to make use of drop-off centres for their domestic and garden refuse.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality today implemented its contingency plan for waste collection.
The strike was discussed at a mayoral committee meeting today, but no deal has been struck between the metro and the unions.
Addressing the media, city manager Johan Mettler said the metro was engaging with the unions but was under no obligation to pay the back-pay as claimed.
“We are of course are under no obligation to pay the back-pay as claimed, but we are certainly engaging with them and trying to find a solution to this impasse,” said Mettler.
“Any deal that may be struck will of course need to go back to council, because council on a previous occasion resolved that backpay of long service bonuses shall not be payed. So if there is a deal we have to go back to council.”
Mettler said the metro had engaged in a process with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) who were facilitating ongoing discussions.
He was hopeful that if a deal was struck, there would be resumption of normal duties until such time the matter went to council next month.
“We would like the strike to be called off as soon as possible, we have no interest in prolonging this matter. We already started to engage the unions prior to the strike and I think the strike was called in an effort to add some pressure.”
Corporate Services member of the mayoral committee (MMC) Annette Lovemore said that metro would be seeking an interdict to ensure that picketing rules were adhered to, so that no person was threatened and no property was damaged.
– African News Agency (ANA)