Municipal workers in Nelson Mandela Bay protested outside City Hall today as strike action continued for a second day.
The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) handed over a memorandum of their demands to acting city manager Nowandle Gqiba
Their demands include long-service back pay of R30 000 per beneficiary, absorption of contract workers and overtime to be paid.
Workers are also demanding that the metro stop spending money on highly paid legal practitioners.
In the memorandum, workers also demanded that mayor Athol Trollip stop “interfering” in Samwu matters.
As a result of the strike, driving licence centres in the Bay are closed.
Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron said that Korsten and Uitenhage traffic and driving licence centres were closed, in addition to consumer care centres at Mfanasekhaya Gqoboshe, Walmer, Uitenhage Town Hall and Korsten.
Baron said isolated incidents of intimidation have also been reported.
He said swift action was taken by the Joint Operations Centre (JOC), established on Thursday, to deal with all strike-related issues.
“A dedicated number (041 506 7405) during office hours has been established for residents to report refuse collection matters and a contingency plan is simultaneously being implemented.”
Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) in the region released a statement announcing their unwavering support for the striking workers.
“The workers demands are legitimate and reasonable, any sober management would adhere to them. It is only in a DA government where ignorance and arrogance would take center stage on matters of workers, we are not surprised by this attitude. They have continuously taken decisions that are anti-working class and anti-poor,” said regional secretary Themba Xathula.
Xathula said the ANC had instructed its caucus to vote in favour of the long-service bonuses.
He said issues of overtime also needed to be resolved speedily.
“Increase of workers must talk to the challenges facing our people, consider the VAT and petrol increase, inflation and transport costs.
The negotiations should seriously consider the demands of Samwu as the majority union in the municipality, failure to do that would cause more instability in the metro.”
The ANC also called for the suspension or even expulsion of city manager Johan Mettler.
Samwu has giving the metro until Monday to respond to their demands.
– African News Agency (ANA)