Contingency plans ahead of municipal workers' strike

Municipal workers must be disciplined during their upcoming strike, the Ekurhuleni metro police said on Sunday.

They should “desist from trashing, intimidation and vandalism”, spokesperson Wilfred Kgasago said in a statement.

About 145 000 municipal workers are expected to go on strike on Monday.

Unions said the strike would affect 262 municipalities across the country and would extend to the essential services sector.

Kgasago said the police would monitor the situation throughout the week to ensure minimal traffic disruptions.

“Businesses are specifically requested to let their cameras roll so that video footage can be used to identify culprits if need be,” he said.

Contingency plans
The striking workers are members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).

Municipalities said they had put contingency plans in place to minimise the impact on municipal services.

Earlier this week, unions rejected a 6% increase as part of a three-year wage agreement established in July 2009.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) said workers’ 18% pay rise demand was not affordable for municipalities.

If the demand was met, funding would have to be sourced from existing revenue—for example by increasing rates and taxes, spokesperson Milisa Kentane said.

This would have a ripple effect on the economy and would expose workers to price increases in goods and services, negating their salary increase.

Services scaled down
Alternatively, basic municipal services would have to be scaled down, leading to possible job losses and increased protests about poor service delivery, she said.

Samwu said this was “mere propaganda” and that most municipalities could afford an increase of at least 10%—which was the least workers would accept.

The City of Cape Town said it would heighten security at all municipal buildings.

Mayoral committee member Demetri Qually said solid waste services were expected to be among the worst affected.

These services included refuse removal, street sweeping, emptying of public bins and the removal of illegal dumping, as well as services to businesses and industries, he said.

“Residents are urged to assist the city during this time by not dumping waste and by not letting wet waste accumulate if not collected”.

No work, no pay
Nelson Mandela Bay municipality said the no work, no pay rule would be strictly applied.

Disciplinary action would be taken against any essential services employees who joined the strike, said corporate services chairperson Nomamerica Magopeni.

The municipality was setting up a strike management centre as part of its contingency plan.

The City of Tshwane expected that transport and refuse collection would be affected, said spokesperson Pieter de Necker.

People who relied on Tshwane bus services would have to arrange alternative transport as the buses would not be running, he said.

Residents were also asked to leave their rubbish bins outside until they were collected.

The Secunda municipality warned residents that there would be minimal electricity, water, sanitation and refuse removal services from Monday.—Sapa

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