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'SAMWU is demanding more than what we can give them' Metro says

By Afikile Lugunya - Jun 15, 2018
'SAMWU is demanding more than what we can give them' Metro says

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Friday hit back at its striking workers saying that they were making impossible demands in their memorandum of demands, which they handed over to the acting Municipal Manager, Nolwandle Gqiba.

Hundreds of the Metro's workers, aligned with the South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU), gathered at Vuyisile Mini Square to express their grievances with the Metro.

SAMWU Regional Secretary, Mqondisi Nodongwe, read out the grievances to the acting MM.

Gqiba said that the MM, Johan Mettler, will only be back on Monday when she will hand over the memorandum - much to the displeasure of the striking workers.

They said that they cannot wait until Monday as she was in the acting position to make decisions on behalf of the absent MM.

Gqiba promised to send the memorandum to Mettler by the end of business on Friday.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) said that they are supporting the striking workers, and some ANC councillors were seen in the crowd amongst the workers.

Speaking for the Municipality, Kupido Baron said that the concerns will be tabled at the next Mayoral Committee meeting and the next Council meeting, but the workers were demanding things that are impossible to meet.

“It is entirely truthful that the municipality did not do anything regarding the demands. We took the matter of the long service bonuses to Council and a decision was taken. However Samwu demands more than what we are able to give at this stage,” he said.

ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Regional Secretary, Themba Xathula, said that the party has instructed its caucus to vote in favour of the long service bonuses because the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition government led by Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, is 'arrogant'.

“It is only in a DA government where ignorance and arrogance would take center stage on matters of workers. We are not surprised by this attitude. They have continuously taken decisions that are anti-working class and anti-poor," he said.

While noting that the strike will have a negative impact on the people living in the Metro, the ANC blames Trollip, and asked residents in the city for patience and to"support the strike to liberate the poorly treated working class".

SAMWU is the biggest union in the municipality and failure to reach an agreement, will probably cause chaos.

“We also support the call for the suspension (or even expulsion) of the City Manager, Mettler. The issue of overtime must also be resolved speedily as it talks directly to service delivery,” Xathula said.

Baron said that the Metro expects the strike to affect the Korsten and Uitenhage Driving License Centres, which are closed, as well as consumer care centres at Mfanasekhaya Gqoboshe, Walmer, Uitenhage Town Hall and Korsten.

“Isolated incidents of intimidation have also been reported,” Kupido said, adding; "the Joint Operations Centre (JOC), established on Thursday morning, to deal with all strike-related issues".

He said that for refuse collection queries, residents can call 041 506 7405 during office hours.

“We would like to appeal to residents, who are able to take their domestic and garden refuse to drop-off centres, to do so. These centres are open from 07:00 and 17:00 daily and no one will be denied access during this period," he described.

“Traffic Driving License Appointments are currently postponing appointments to renew driving licenses with a week.”

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