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SERVICE DELIVERY CONTINUES DURING SAMWU STRIKE

 


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The City of Cape Town reports no disruption of any municipal service during the fourth day of strike action by members of the South African Municipal Workers Union [SAMWU].

The attendance statistics indicate that the number of people absent from work without authority from the City’s workforce [22 557 staff] more than doubled compared with yesterday’s figures rising from 473 (2.10%) yesterday to 1029 today. This is less than five percent (4.56%) of the workforce and not all of those absent without authority can assumed to be participating in the SAMWU strike.

The highest absenteeism was in the Transport, Roads and Stormwater Directorate (21.23%). This was followed by Housing (6.36%) and Utilities (6.31%). Most other directorates in the City were virtually unaffected by the strike. In many cases no unauthorised absenteeism was reported.

About 900 SAMWU members took part in an unruly march from the Keizergracht in District Six through the CBD to the Civic Centre, but no memorandum was handed over. They then returned to the Keizergracht and dispersed.

Mike Marsden, Executive Director: Service Delivery Integration, said: "The City is disappointed in the manner in which SAMWU members have conducted themselves over the past few days.

There have been incidents of intimidation of non-striking staff at municipal depots in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Heideveld, Kraaifontein and Langa. Today’s march of approximately 900 SAMWU members was also held in an abusive fashion, with missiles being thrown, intimidation of Council staff and the streets being strewn with rubbish.

The City has dispatched staff to clean up the mess left by SAMWU protestors, and the cost will be charged to SAMWU’s account. We will also be identifying individuals who have intimidated fellow staff members or broken other laws, and will take disciplinary steps against them.

The City accepts that SAMWU has a right to strike and to hold protest action. However, it is unfortunate that they want the City to halt the Organisational Realignment Process. This process has resulted in better services to residents. It has also tackled a number of issues that negatively affect staff, such as the lack of reporting lines and pay parity.

Over 80% of all staff members are now on standard conditions of service and pay scales and nearly 50% of all staff have benefited from pay parity. In other words, nearly half of the City’s staff are now being paid more as a result of the Realignment.

We have also set up a formal objection process which was open to all employees. So far 75% of objections have been resolved, and 4000 employees who had been performing extra functions since the Unicity was formed have been upgraded.

These individuals are now being recognised and compensated for the extra work that they have been doing. To date the Organisational Realignment Process has resulted in pay parity to relevant staff amounting to R151 million.

It is therefore surprising that SAMWU wants to undo these gains".

There were several incidents today:

*  Sport and Recreation staff were intimidated at the Kraaifontein Parks Depot and forced to participate in the strike.

*  Striking workers blocked the entrance to the Stocks and Stocks building in Khayelitsha. Rubbish was scattered in front of the gate and down the road for 200 metres.

*  The driver of a bus hired by SAMWU was intimidated into blocking the entrance of the Langeberg Roads Maintenance Depot for more than an hour from 8 a.m. preventing staff from leaving the depot.

*  As a result of the intimidation of staff at the Nyanga Housing office yesterday, staff were relocated to Heideveld for today.

Residents must place their wheelie bins on the pavement on collection day. If the bin is not collected by the normal time do not take it back onto your property - leave it until 19:00 if need be. If the bin is not collected please report it the next morning to the City's Call Centre on 0860 103 089.

Solid Waste are experiencing backlogs with the collection of wheelie bins in the Bellville/Durbanville area. This is not strike-related, but due to breakdowns of the refuse collection trucks. The staff are working late into the night in order to catch up. Residents are requested to leave their bins on the pavement.

Workers in services designated as essential may not go out on strike. These are:
* Health Services
* Traffic Services
* Fire and Emergency Services
* Water and Sewage and Electricity
* Metro Police
* Law Enforcement

Access to the Civic Centre will be restricted during the strike. Only those with specific Council business or having a prior arrangement with a specific official will be able to gain access. The City apologises for the inconvenience.

ISSUED BY:
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL:  021 400 3719

MEDIA QUERIES:
CHARLES COOPER
ACTING MEDIA MANAGER
TEL: 021 400 3719    CELL: 084 628 8618

Date Posted: 2008-02-01
Posted By: CITY OF CAPE TOWN
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