Pikitup workers reject proposal
Johannesburg - Disgruntled Pikitup workers on Thursday refused to accept a proposal put together by the City of Johannesburg, as it did not deal with their key demands, the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said.
"Nothing has been accepted, this proposal did not speak to their key demands," spokesperson Tahir Sema said.
He said about 1 500 refuse collectors gathered in Joubert Park in Johannesburg, on the first day of their full blown strike.
The gathering afforded them a report back on a meeting Samwu had with politicians and the Johannesburg city manager on Wednesday.
"We are not willing to compromise on our key demands..." Sema said.
They are demanding, among other things, that an internal investigation be commissioned into alleged corruption and irregular tenders at the company.
Samwu has asked that Pikitup's managing director be suspended pending an investigation.
Sema said an example of an allegedly "faulty tender" was one worth R100m given to an outside trucking company.
"The proper procedures were not followed. Service providers were not even given an opportunity to apply for the contract because the managing director instructed that it go to that (trucking) company," he said.
He said workers doing the same jobs were also not being equally paid.
Money was also being wasted on contract workers, who should be made permanent.
Samwu claimed that certain managers and executives of Pikitup, the city's official waste management service provider, were being intimidated for supporting the union's calls for a probe.
The union earlier threatened to approach the Public Protector about the alleged corruption if its demands were not met.
"We will approach the Public Protector on matters of corruption, nepotism and irregular tenders should our disputes with Pikitup not be resolved," Sema said.
"We have given the city manager (Mavela Dlamini) some reasonable time and space to make an intervention, and if that fails, we will approach the special investigations unit," he said.
About 2 000 workers are said to be on strike and most employees at Pikitup were Samwu members.
Workers were meanwhile picketing at various Pikitup depots around Johannesburg, Sema said.
The strike follows a go slow at certain depots earlier in the month.
Pikitup was not immediately available for comment on what effect the strike had on the company in its first day, or on Samwu's allegations.
However on Wednesday, its spokesperson Pansy Oyedele said the company tried everything in its power to reach an agreement with Samwu.
Pikitup asked residents whose rubbish was not collected because of the strike to be patient, and to keep it inside their yards.
People with the capacity could take general waste to the landfill sites Goudkoppies, in Houthammer Road, Devland; Marie Louise, in Dobsonville Road, Roodepoort; Robinson Deep in Turffontein Road, Turffontein; and Ennerdale, in Old Lawley Road, Lawley.
Residents could also deposit their refuse at the 42 garden sites around the city.