Court hearing on Jo’burg strike postponed

The Johannesburg Labour Court has postponed to Thursday a hearing on whether striking Johannesburg municipal workers could call a secondary strike.

Workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) have been on strike since Monday.

The court postponed the hearing on Wednesday after counsel for Johannesburg city, Paul Kennedy, said some of the union demands were unclear.

”There is a disagreement about what is meant by parity. Before we can take the matter any further the city needs to understand what exactly the union is demanding.”

The striking workers are demanding, among others, free transport to and from work on municipal buses and salary parity for employees with the same experience and qualifications.

They also want an end to the casualisation of jobs, and the introduction of fixed-term contracts for lower-end employees.

Kennedy said the parity issue had to be clarified as the city was of the view that parity already existed.

”Why is it so hard for the union to articulate what exactly they mean so that the employers know what they are talking about.”

Counsel for Samwu, Robert la Grange, said parity meant different things to different people and that the city had not been able to come to an agreement with the union on the issue.

Parity had become the ”centre of gravity” in the dispute.

The case will resume at 9.30am on Thursday. — Sapa

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