Jo'burg roads closed for Samwu strike

Several roads in the Johannesburg city centre will be closed on Monday as approximately 8 000 South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members were expected to march through the city.

Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson, Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, said the marchers were expected to gather at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown from 9 am.

“They will march up Bree Street, turn left into Miriam Makeba Street and cross the Nelson Mandela Bridge. From there they will turn into Jorrison Road in Braamfontein, from where they will march up to the Metro Centre to hand over a memorandum,” said Minnaar.

“The march will start at 10 and is expected to go on until midday.”

Minnaar expected the march to be peaceful, but said a “staff skeleton” of metro police officers and the police will be on duty to block off roads and monitor the march.

“According to an agreement with Samwu a percentage of metro police officers will be allowed to join the march,” he said. Metro
police officers are considered essential workers, and are usually not allowed to strike.

City authorities have called on Samwu and its striking members to ensure that the rights of non-striking worker are respected during the strike.

Spokesperson Nthatise Modingoane said: “The City calls on the union leadership to ensure that Samwu members refrain from any act of intimidation or lawlessness whilst exercising their right to strike.”

Mass action
Up to 60 000 workers will take part in the strike nationwide, following a failed application by the the South African Local Government Association (Salga) to halt the industrial action.

Municipal workers are demanding a job evaluation system to grade all jobs in the local government sector.

The union also accused Salga of firing workers, thereby undermining service delivery and wasting money on expensive lawyers to handle labour related cases.

Salga said it was surprised with the union’s demands as there were already agreements signed by itself and Samwu.

“There is an existing agreement on the disciplinary code and it expires in 2012,” Salga CEO Xolile George said.

To change the agreement, he said, the union would have to wait until the existing agreement expired.—Sapa

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