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Metro seeks to interdict striking workers, negotiations continue at CCMA

Jun 21, 2018
Metro seeks to interdict striking workers, negotiations continue at CCMA

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is on Thursday seeking an interdict against its striking workers even as negotiations continue at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

The strike, which commenced on Thursday last week with the municipality's largest union, South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU), downed tools, and deliverying their demands at the City Hall on Friday, has seen refuse not being collected across the City.

On Monday, another union, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU), also downed tools.

According to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Member of the Mayoral Committee Corporate Services, Cllr Annette Lovemore, the fifth working day of the strike in Nelson Mandela (on Wednesday) "was tense, but productive".

"The day began with union members barring many employees who are choosing to work access to their workplaces. This, coupled with the fact that a march was expected, a mayoral committee was scheduled for the morning and a council meeting for the afternoon, led to an exceptionally high SAPS and Metro Police presence in the CBD," she described.

"Order was generally maintained, although there are reports now, of community protests as a result of the various disruptions in service delivery - with interruptions in water and power provision being of greatest concern." 

Lovemore said that the Mayoral committee considered an item tabled by the City Manager, detailing the offer already made to the unions in respect of the long service bonus backpay.

"The City Manager and his team were mandated to commence negotiations this morning, with the offer previously made being the starting point," she added.

"The CCMA's Advocate Bono addressed both unions on the importance of maintaining essential services, and negotiations commenced immediately thereafter, mediated by the CCMA.

"Negotiations continued for approximately 4 hours. Good progress has been made, with both unions agreeing to return to their members to discuss an increased offer from the employer. All parties will reconvene on Thursday at the CCMA offices." 

A lunchtime march to the City Hall was addressed by various speakers, "all of whom spoke politically rather than of the demands that have been tabled", Lovemore said.

"The speakers announced that the matter would be tabled in council in the afternoon.

"Indeed, this afternoon all parties agreed in Council that the matter of the strike is a critical one and should be discussed. A caucus was called by opposition parties. These parties then left the council chamber, but did not return. Thus, no council discussion of the issue took place," she described.

"Unfortunately, it has become necessary for the City Manager to seek an urgent interdict to compel compliance with picketing rules and with the requirements of essential services legislation. The process is underway for an interdict to be granted on Thursday.

"Thursday's negotiations are critical. Today, it is pleasing to have reported that some progress has been made towards possible resolution of the current impasse."