Hundreds of furious waste management workers yesterday drove through the streets of Pretoria spreading litter and blocking roads with tree branches after the Moipone Group of Companies terminated their contracts from May 3 without any reason or warning.
They drove to Moipone’s offices in Francis Baard Street in Pretoria, broke down the gate and tried to get into the building, demanding to know why their services had been terminated. The police intervened and stopped them entering the building.
These workers are responsible for collecting waste in Pretoria and the surrounding areas that fall under the City of Tshwane.
One of the workers was involved in a hit-and-run accident during the protest and his head and leg were injured. He was taken to hospital by ambulance.
The group’s representative, Jonas Lebeya, said they were informed over the long weekend that they did not have jobs anymore.
“The company sent someone with a letter to us. We don’t even know this person and there was no prior notice. We are furious. Today we have showed themwhat we can do, but if they do not give heed to our demands, there will be fire in Pretoria,” he said.
Steve Moeketsi, a driver, complained they were being paid “peanuts” (about R3 000 per month) and did not qualify for sick leave, annual leave or overtime pay, even if they worked on public holidays. He said because they are desperate to work, they are being exploited.
The workers handed over a memorandum of demands, which was accepted by a representative of Moipone.
Their demands included that:
- Moipone must immediately withdraw all termination letters;
- All outstanding payments should be settled immediately;
- A minimum contract period of 36 months, effective from May 1, 2017, must be offered by Moipone;
- All contractors that rendered services on May 1 and 2 must be paid for the work done;
- There be scheduled monthly meetings with the executive management of Moipone; and
- All contract/protection fees to Moipone must be stopped.