Municipal strike drags on as talks continue

Striking municipal workers were expected to take to the streets again on Thursday as talks between the union and employers to resolve a wage dispute were still continuing.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) said “good progress” was being made in the meeting with the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), whose members had been striking since Monday over pay scales.

“Salga and Samwu are still in talks this morning [Thursday] since going into discussions last night [Wednesday night],” Salga said in a statement released on Thursday morning.

“There is good progress made in discussions and we hope that an outcome that will be good for all parties will emerge.”

The meeting at Gallagher Estate in Midrand hoped to resolve a wage dispute after Salga failed to do so through the courts.

The organisation withdrew a court application on Tuesday to stop the strike.

Attempts by Salga to obtain an interdict on Friday to halt the strike by the workers were unsuccessful when their application was struck off the roll. The Labour Court said it was not an urgent matter.

Samwu members were expected to march through the Johannesburg and Durban city centres on Thursday.

The workers were demanding a job evaluation system that would grade all jobs in the local government sector.

Services in various municipalities and cities across the country including Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley and Ekurhuleni have been affected, with 70 workers arrested for public violence and damage to property in Kimberley. — Sapa

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