On a third day of running protests, municipal workers were seen setting trucks on fire, blocking roads, spilling trash in the streets…overall causing chaos in Pretoria’s CBD on Thursday.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) deployed a number of officers to deal with the ongoing protests as rubber bullets were fired.
The protests began earlier this week when the workers broke into Tshwane House in Madiba Street and damaged the municipality’s head office.
The workers, who are members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), were making sure that their concerns are heard after talks between the union and the City of Tshwane administrators broke down as they could not come to an agreement on a wage increase on Tuesday.
The City has faced a loss in revenue since lockdown.
According to Tshwane head administrator Mpho Nawa, the Samwu leadership walked out of the meeting, leading to its collapse as there was no quorum.
Nawa said the administrators had also made a compelling case regarding the state of the metro’s finances.
He further said National Treasury had also raised this concern of finances with the Tshwane metro.
Protesting municipal workers have set trucks on fire in the Pretoria CBD. pic.twitter.com/nbxGmZ7IRD
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) July 23, 2020
Meanwhile, Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile condemned the “criminal-inclined tactic” used by the municipal workers to “force” the metro to concede to their demands.
“Organised labour has resorted to industrial action without following due processes of declaring a dispute and submitting a 48-hour strike notice, as per the labour relations act.
“We call on organised labour, irrespective of their union logos or T-shirt colours to disengage from industrial action. The doors for engagement are open in order to find an amicable solution,” said Maile.
He called on the workers to suspend their industrial action and return to the bargaining table and allow negotiations to continue.
“We also urge both parties to negotiate in good faith,” Maile said.
He said by law, the Tshwane metro could seek a court interdict or alternatively enforce the principle of “no work, no pay” against all employees who have embarked on an unprotected industrial action.
“The right to strike should not be abused or used to undermine collective bargaining processes. We appeal to organised labour to go back to the bargaining table,” said Maile.
He added that his department was prepared to meet with labour to solicit a deeper understanding of their collective bargaining demands and resolve the stand-off.
— Newsnote Agency (@NewsnoteNetwork) July 23, 2020