Jo’burg cleans up as Pikitup strike ends
The five-week Pikitup strike that left the townships‚ suburbs and city streets of Johannesburg piled with rubbish has ended. The City of Johannesburg‚ Pikitup and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) reached an agreement on Saturday night following negotiations facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration. The CCMA confirmed this on Sunday.Negotiations for better salaries will continue at the CCMA. Pikitup will make a once-off payment of R750 to certain categories of workers.“Parties are committed to working together to resolve all outstanding issues‚” Pikitup tweeted.Workers have agreed to return to work immediately and external service providers will be brought in to help with the backlog‚ according to Pikitup.The city has spent R1-million a day on contingency measures to mitigate the effects of the strike. Pikitup said in a tweet that the backlog of refuse collection in many areas has‚ as a result‚ been cleared and that this operation will continue until the city is clean.The unprotected strike involving 4 000 employees was over wage disparities among employees of the Johannesburg waste management company.Workers that were absorbed by Pikitup after private contractors were ended in 2011 want their salaries to be between R8‚000 and R10‚000 to put them on par with the other workers that are doing the same jobs and have the same experience.Timeslive reported on Thursday that the city said the striking workers had been found guilty by a disciplinary hearing for their participation in an unprotected work stoppage.Nthatisi Modingoane‚ deputy director of media relations at the City of Johannesburg‚ expects the independent presiding officer who found the workers guilty to hear mitigating factors from the workers before sentencing them.