Striking SAMWU members disrupt Jordaan's maiden budget speech

JUNE 18, 2015

A group of South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) members on Thursday morning disrupted a Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Meeting at the Wool Exchange Building in Port Elizabeth.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan, is due to table his long-awaited budget for the 2015/16 financial year for the Metro at the venue this afternoon.

The strike is continuing from yesterday, when the workers - mostly from the municipality's Waste Removal Division, put down their tools and even blocked off a section of Govan Mbeki Avenue.

Rory Riordhan, the new Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Portfolio Councillor for Budget and Treasury, was presenting his budget when the SAMWU members began banging on the closed door of the Council Chamber.

While, the workers have not made their grievances made publicly, it is understood that they are demanding a presence in Council.

Before the disruption, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Pravin Gordhan, was able to present a breakdown of the National Support Plan - which details the support package for Nelson Mandela Bay, as determined by National Government.

There is now a strong security presence outside Council.

Strong warning

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Wednesday afternoon released a statement saying that it has noted the "unlawful strike action embarked upon by approximately two-hundred-and-fifty staff members, predominantly from our Waste Management division".

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality City Manager, Mpilo Mbambisa, said; "We have also noted that about fifteen to twenty municipal waste removal trucks were deliberately parked and left in the streets in order to disrupt traffic and to stop access of our customers into municipal buildings.

"Such transgression of laws and disruption of services to our people will not be tolerated."

Mbambisa said that the NMBM has informed Union representatives that such unlawful action will not be tolerated, and that "our primary focus remains the delivery of services to the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay".

Union representatives were additionally informed that, in keeping with the legislation, policy and regulations, the principle of no-work-no-pay will be applied.

"All our staff are duly reminded that the Municipality and SALGA have structures, systems and procedures in place where any grievance or work-related matter may be tabled and addressed.

"The Municipality had all the trucks removed from the streets this morning," Mbambisa said.

"We take this opportunity to apologise to our residents who were affected by the unlawful strike action. Whilst we fully expect all our Waste Management workers to return to work and carry out their duties as per normal, we do however send an alert to residents that there may be disruptions in the waste removal service."