Pikitup ‘wildcat’ strike still affecting 10 depots in Johannesburg

20 May 2024 - 16:05
By Phathu Luvhengo
Pikitup workers are unable to collect waste in parts of Johannesburg due to a protest outside a number of its depots.
Image: Russell Roberts Pikitup workers are unable to collect waste in parts of Johannesburg due to a protest outside a number of its depots.

Pikitup on Monday says it will engage casual workers until a solution is found as the “wildcat” strike continues.

The entity's spokesperson Muzi Mkhwanazi said about 10 depots were affected and only two were operational after workers downed tools on Monday. 

“It is a wildcat strike since no formal notification was sent to Pikitup management notifying it of the impending action,” he said.

He said the depots were affected to varying degrees, with protesters using intimidation and threats to prevent workers from leaving the depot.

He said the entity would engage casual workers until a solution was found and other strategies such as law enforcement assistance would be employed.

He added the rubbish was not collected, but hoped the issue would be addressed and waste collection resumed.

On Friday, Pikitup deployed the Public Order Policing (POP) unit to remove protesters who were obstructing depots, ensuring employees could resume waste collection services for City of Johannesburg residents. 

Protesters including Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) employees, whose contracts were expiring, and community members blocked entrances to the Norwood, Selby, Marlboro, Randburg, Diepsloot, Midrand and Roodepoort depots. They were all demanding permanent employment with the waste management company.

Mkhwanazi said POP units were instructed to arrest and remove lawbreakers to allow Pikitup staff to do their work.

“Additionally, private security personnel and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) will escort employees as they provide services to residents. 

“It is important to clarify that the current protest action is not a strike by Pikitup's employees but by casual workers. This means members of the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), the recognised unions within the organisation, are not on strike,” he said.

He added Pikitup remained committed to engaging with protesters' representatives to find an amicable solution.

“These efforts are expected to facilitate the reopening of the depots soon,” he said.

The entity encouraged residents in affected areas to dispose of their waste at Pikitup’s integrated waste management facilities while the matter was being resolved.