Municipal workers gearing up for strike

2012-10-08 14:32

Johannesburg - SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) workers has filed notice to embark on a national strike, a spokesperson said on Monday, a sign that crippling labour unrest is widening into the public sector.

“The union is mobilising towards a national protest, which would begin as soon as this week,” Tahir Sema, a spokesperson for the Samwu told Reuters.

The action, which could lead to a one-day protest or an indefinite strike, would call for medium and lower-income workers to receive market-related salaries and for pay parity among workers across South Africa’s provinces, Sema said.

Close to 100 000 workers, including 75 000 in the mining sector alone, have taken to the streets in recent weeks in often violent protests, demanding higher wages and better income equality. 

The wildcat strikes have shut down great parts of the mining industry in the world’s top producer of platinum and a major supplier of gold, pushing prices of precious metals higher.

Samwu has more than 190 000 members country-wide and a majority was expected to participate, Sema said.

Workers were calling for medium and lower-income workers to receive market-related salaries and for greater pay parity among workers across the provinces, he added.

The strikes pushed the rand to a fresh three-and-a-half year low on Monday and prompted Moody’s last month to cut South Africa’s government bond rating, citing the government’s difficulty in keeping up with economic challenges and widening strikes.   

Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] fired 12 000 wildcat strikers on Friday, a high-stakes attempt by the world’s biggest platinum producer to push back at a wave of illegal stoppages sweeping through the country’s mining sector and beyond.

Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] said it was losing 120 000 tonnes of finished product per day due to an illegal strike at its Sishen mine in South Africa and it would be able to continue supply customers from stockpiles only until mid-October.

Strikes have spread beyond the mining sector, with Shell saying on Friday it would not be able to honour contracts to deliver fuel near Johannesburg because of a trucking strike.

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  • sanda.mnyazi - 2012-10-08 14:41

    Yoh another one **worried**

      mosimane.letlalo - 2012-10-08 14:52

      Is it a strike season or what?? some of us only get increase if the company makes money.

      rofras.rassie - 2012-10-08 15:19

      Some South African are spoiled brats. i worked for 3 years with a degree earning less than 12k, but this idiots want 16k with no matric.

      matshobana.siziba - 2012-10-08 15:21

      New phrase of the month "MARKET RELATED SALARY". Even Marikana miners know it. Unfortunately they didnt stay long in class to learn the meaning of it, otherwise they would be working quietly and all thankful for being over paid.

      cathy.dejongh.5 - 2012-10-08 15:26

      @ngobel.sinxama Have you completely lost your mind?

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-08 15:45

      Well said Alan. But of course you speaking to people who are high on revolutionary propaganda. Your educated point will fall on uneducated ears I'm afraid. They will break this country and then blame that on the educated as well.

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-10-08 17:28

      The world had the Arab Spring, South Africa had the Striking Spring.....

  • deon.meiring - 2012-10-08 14:41

    And there we go again....strike, strike! Down the drain we go!

      jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-10-08 15:52

      These strikers see how our government are enriching themselves by stealing workers taxes, it is not surprising that they fear being left behind in poverty. We have a moral malaise in this country, workers see that even the President can steal at will and there is no consequences, in fact he gets promoted instead. We need a rapid return to fiscal and moral responsibility. It can begin with ensuring that JZ is removed.

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-10-08 17:23

      Hip Hup Hippity Ho!

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-10-08 14:42

    I suppose this now means we will have rubbish thrown all over the streets again. I would have more sympathy for them if they acted rationally instead of lunatics.

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 15:39

      Well - every strike opens opportunities for others. With every (annual) municipal strike, - we get pvt bakkies collecting rubbish for R10/bin, and they seem to do pretty well. So what should we pay 4 x the Price for unreliable municipal wekkers to sometimes do the job. Fire them .. they are already overpaid for what they do, and let willing workers make a living out of the opportunity instead.

  • danie.strydom.7 - 2012-10-08 14:42

    just looking at the rand ..... slip sliding away ....

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-08 15:47

      Correct Jamba

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-08 16:18

      @danie "just looking at the rand ..... slip sliding away ...." and so is my hopes, my faith, my dreams and even my religion ...

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-08 17:14

      Never let your faith slips. It Will cost you.

  • gaius.longinus.9 - 2012-10-08 14:45

    What exactly is their market related salary, who determines what a person with only std 3 or 4 should get? The workers themselves?????

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-10-08 15:25

      Zuma has a std 2, he approved a 5.something increase in his bloated salary. It seems that the less you learn the more you earn.

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 15:42

      For what they do, our workers are already overpaid in many instances when compared with similar 3rd world countries. The "WE DEMAND' mentality (along with state corruption) is the highest driver of inflation that there is.

  • sonia.bloem - 2012-10-08 14:48

    Really, another strike!!! Urg this is really getting out of hand!!!

  • thepatrickwinter - 2012-10-08 14:54

    I reckon: This IS IT, the beginning of 'The Rift' that has been a prophecy for almost 100 years. There is no turning back now, we just have to see it through. Difficult days lie ahead.

      loki.scribus - 2012-10-08 16:09

      Hello thepatrickwinter, what prophecy are you talking about? Got a link to somewhere online?

  • roger.howdy - 2012-10-08 14:54

    ANC Get rid of the Unions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 15:46

      and .. Unions - get rid of the anc

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-10-08 14:55

    Here we go....... I'll turn over a few dustbins on my way home to save them the trouble. Veggie waste in the compost heap - check Cans, plastics, batteries, cardboard, bottles - in the recycling bins at Pnp - check. Oh damn - we need that one pothole fixed - bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha doesn't happen anyway.......

  • ben.spreeth - 2012-10-08 14:56

    And I thought municipal employees have been on strike all the time as service delivery has been dismal for a long time.

  • JAbu.R15 - 2012-10-08 14:57

    Y am i not suprised! Eish,everybody will want to strike without even looking at the economical implication their actions have on SA!

      talana.malherbe - 2012-10-08 15:26

      You are so right JAbu.R15

  • ppisciotta - 2012-10-08 14:58

    In away I don't blame them. They learn from their leaders. Zuma and his lard-assed wives do nothing yet cry for R2M to improve their homes. Shame SA, SHAME. Democracy came too early for you.

      ben.spreeth - 2012-10-08 15:04


      ppisciotta - 2012-10-08 15:22

      Ben - I used a single digit so the "matric majority" could read. I don't believe they received the text books that explained double digits.

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 16:00

      triple digits.

  • dewalds3 - 2012-10-08 14:58

    The 'flenter-gat profeet' was right then, after all....

  • clive.kihn - 2012-10-08 15:03

    Brace yourselves for more intimidation, street trashing, window smashing and looting from this unruly mob. A thought: if "workers" are that poorly paid, how they can afford to strike so frequently?

      damien.bako - 2012-10-09 15:41

      The only time you see a municipal worker do anything is when they throw rubbish around while on strike.

  • tina.leal.353 - 2012-10-08 15:08

    Your government wont give you more money. And if they do, they will take it back in taxes. Keep striking, keep supporting Malema and you will see. The Rand will drop and then we will all be poor. Gov has alot more money than employed people.

  • Willie - 2012-10-08 15:09

    YOOOOO!!!!! time to trash all the cities, monotonous

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 15:53

      nobody will notice the difference...

  • Erna - 2012-10-08 15:10

    And the government is obvious by its silence! All they are worrying about is their elections in December. They don't know where to start fixing this country.

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-08 17:22

      Sadly Its all happening at the same time..

  • Ken - 2012-10-08 15:18

    Why can't business have a clause in the employees contract that says if you strike ILLEGALLY then wages MUST DECREASE by 10% for those who are rehired? Companies may then profit from illegal strikes. We could apply this principal to municipal rates, so if there is an illegal strike the monthly rates will be lowered for that year by 10%

  • terrence.schwartz.1 - 2012-10-08 15:20

    wHAT A FAILED STATE WE LIVE IN..................

  • malcolm.stevens.129 - 2012-10-08 15:20

    I know SA has it's strike season, and we're in the midst of a particularly turbulent strike season, but why do the municipal workers go on strike every year? Surely striking is not the tool for regular salary negotiation, but rather for the extremes where you simply cannot come to an amicable agreement. What's going wrong here? Are the Unions agreeing one thing in one year and disregarding all those agreements the next year, or are the municipalities not playing their part here? Not looking to apportion blame, but something is broken - where?

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-08 22:52

      I must agree here. Every time they have a strike, they are supposed to agree to the new salary arrangements, and wait a few years. A few years ago, the strikers were performing around the office I worked in; it was all singing, dancing, jollifications, kicking over cans, setting fire to papers, over turning cars,and....and, stopping at 10 for tea/breakfast. ????? They then took up the stance again, greeted us merrily, and went dancing down the street. The only time it got 'ugly' was when the police arrived. *sigh* I must say that at times it looked 'staged'...... Protest as we may, we need to brace ourselves.......

  • ian.d.samson - 2012-10-08 15:20

    NO WORK EQUALS NO PAY! Residents will NOT pay for services not delivered. If no one collects your garbage while THEY are on strike, then don't pay your municipal account! We will not be held to ransom by those thugs!

  • jason.heineberg - 2012-10-08 15:20

    First the mines, then trucks and now this? I wish trade unionism was like baseball- "3 strikes and your'e out". Unfortunately things aren't so simple. I just hope this doesn't cripple our economy, seems like no one wants to work right now.

  • Kerrols - 2012-10-08 15:21

    I wonder what would happen if TAX payers had to strike. mmmm

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-10-08 15:53

      Now you're on to something. Maybe this is the way to show the cANCer that the tax-payer is gatvol of the greed, corruption, theft and their total inability to govern. The time to do something is soon!

  • LeroyTsotetsi - 2012-10-08 15:24

    Didn't these people embark on a strike last year, this is rediculous, whose gonna strike next.

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-10-08 15:55

      As Kerrols above said, hopefully the taxpayer.

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-08 17:24

      Most of the strikes were in July last They forgot to plan this year..

  • Adil Smit - 2012-10-08 15:25

    If our country still has a president - can he please say something?

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-08 16:11

      We have a President? Where?

  • samantha.5243 - 2012-10-08 15:25

    small truck owners, here's an opportunity- give a letter to your neighbours, charge a nominal fee to collect and take the refuse to the dump.- these guys just got an increase and now another, how many do they get in a year???- they dont bother collecting the refuse and then have the audacity to wait at your home to ask for a christmas bonus!!!

      samantha.5243 - 2012-10-08 15:31

      and we stop paying for a service we are not getting from the municipality

  • smahlaba - 2012-10-08 15:26

    Some idiot will eventually say everyone in SA should get the same salary at this rate. From CEO to domestic worker. I think that is where we are headed if we are not careful.

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 16:02

      sure - and then we will of course still have businesses in SA. I want to be a CEO, educate myself, work hard, take on endless stress and earn the same as a dirt collector.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-10-08 15:26

    The only difference it will make in Thaba Chweu is that people with prepaid meters will not have their electricity cut off

  • Modikoe.Elias.Ramongana - 2012-10-08 15:27

    There's a group of S.African fAithfools who are driving this devil force.If u'r frnd is a fool,don't expert to be clever.U'll be the sAme.All the union leaders no 1 is wise so is their followers.

  • shaun.becker.581 - 2012-10-08 15:27

    Classic case of trolling.... you can see this because of his fake facebook profile, no need to get worked up on a Monday people!

  • leonard.rom.7 - 2012-10-08 15:29

    omg where the service delivery

  • Shaun McDermott - 2012-10-08 15:30

    make no mistake about it folks zonda wins, South africa will be dragged down toi the level of the rest of africa. and no one will be happy until then.

  • talana.malherbe - 2012-10-08 15:30

    Oh Goodness there will be nothing left of this beautiful country! Damn idiots!

  • fabian.houten - 2012-10-08 15:32

    Didn't they strike last year... how can they be allowed to strike when they normally make 3 year deals etc. It happens every year

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-08 15:36

    The only good thing about this strike is that it will not be an illegal / wildcat strike. We should jump for joy! Looking at some dirty towns you would think they are always on strike.

  • cvuma - 2012-10-08 15:36

    Maches, strikes, marsacas we saw it bring freedom to SA from Aparthied Gvt, if this the only was to get what you want/deserve then its outdated isn't it there any other way we can use in this democratic nation? Why don't the Gvt draft a constitution gorvening strikes? Meaning that in case there is any reason leading to a strike or mach be carried out in a different democratic way.

      dinesh.chetty.77 - 2012-10-08 16:02

      If you allow a government to control past laws where we cannot strike, march or protest, then you ar effectively allowing them to oppress you, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, because its law. Everyone must have the rught to strike.

  • franco.ollewagen - 2012-10-08 15:39

    I WILL TELL YOU A TRUTH.. This generation of South Africans, and Africa will experience a time of pain and suffering like nobody has ever seen ! The Jigsaw Puzzle is almost complete, and time is running out of the hour glass ! No matter what your colour or creed, may be, there is trouble on your door step like you have never seen ! THERE MAY YET, BE TIME TO STOP IT, BUT THE QUESTION IS... WHO WILL STOP IT ?

  • Rob Allen - 2012-10-08 15:46

    more bananas for everybody....

  • william.letsong.5 - 2012-10-08 15:46

    This idiotic moronic stupid ANC government lead by Criminal Jacob Zuma and the Lonmin management are directly responsible for this mess we are finding ourselves in. They were warned by experts and analyst not to give in to the Lonmin workers demands and they did exactly the opposite. In fact they rewarded the Lonmin thugs with a bonus on they return to work. They are to be blamed. They are responsible. They rewarded unruly behaviour so ofcoz others will follow with mentality to kill and burn to get what they want. Not only must Jacob Zuma go, we must get rid of this whole freaken government!!

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-10-08 16:03

      Well said William. Question is, how to get rid of these thugs before the next election. We are rapidly running out of time. Only right-minded voters can make a change.

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-10-08 16:32

      I honestly wish I could answer your question Steve. Reality is we are co-citizens to mostly uneducated poor people with low IQs who will continue to vote for these criminals.

      dan.ledwaba.5 - 2012-10-09 01:57

      William, well said...BUT....maybe you should update your "Political views" section on FB proudly state you are an ANC supporter....whats with that??? :)

  • Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-10-08 15:59

    A word of advice to Julius Malema, now that it looks certain you will be president of this land in my lifetime:\r\nNever promise the workers and 'poor' living wages - you will be digging your own grave, the world does not operate like that!\r\nRather keep an eye on the rich so that they don't get richer to the detriment of labour relations.

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-08 16:58

      Jip he already show how honest he is. Will steal nothing. Don't waste money. Only care for his people.

      dan.ledwaba.5 - 2012-10-09 02:01

      spoken like a true comrade...."please don't let anyone have more money than me". You would not have been thinking like this if you were rich, would you!!!!

  • bevan.carpenter.1 - 2012-10-08 15:59

    and its a classic show of the level of education, municipal workers take to the streets, throwing trash everywhere, burning and dancing like tribal misfits. Once the strike is over they get to clean up their own mess, i love the logic of oppressed masses?!

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 16:05

      it creates employment for them. I think people should just go and dump their trash at the municpal offices (or politicians houses).

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 16:05

      Oppressed by who? Their own Govt!

  • mthimkulu.mhlokonya - 2012-10-08 16:00

    i saw this coming, just yesterday was telling sm1 that the municipal workers are going to strike soon and wallah its about to happen, our government is run by selfish people who are only thinking of their pockets more than people on the ground. you pay too much bloody tax and what do u get in return?

      alan.gernet - 2012-10-08 16:04

      tata ma showerhead

      loki.scribus - 2012-10-08 16:58


  • Thabisoul Motsome - 2012-10-08 16:03

    How about you STRIKE at NKANDLA????

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-08 16:52

      Sound nice when others don't have water in their houses.

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-08 17:15

      They must take their problems to Nkandla not Pretoria.

  • lyndon.julius - 2012-10-08 16:06

    I fear for the future. We have been left with a leadership vacuum. The sensationalists and opportunists are having a field day and the masses are left to suffer.

  • jacques.shepperson - 2012-10-08 16:07

    Good good... take SA down, let it fail and show the world! But dont give apartheid the blame... this is now in hands of the unions and strikers.

  • carla.smit.77 - 2012-10-08 16:13

    Why not fire them all, there are a lot of unemployed people that will go on their knees for some sort of income..

  • sibu.malusi - 2012-10-08 16:14

    I wouldn't be surprised if all of these strikes are orchestrated to harm JZ's reputation. That way the ABZ-group might have a chance @ overthrowing him @ Mangaung

  • malcolm.stevens.129 - 2012-10-08 16:19

    Could Government ever have the courage to do what Margaret Thatcher did in 1979 / 1980 ? As she so well put it "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty." The unions, self-enrichment and corruption are all a threat to liberty in South Africa. We need to be brave enough to tackle them all head-on. To tackle the unions, she ran a military-style operation which dealt the unions a blow they took decades to recover from. The result was Britain entering a period of economic growth. The unions in South Africa are hindering economic growth by trying to tackle economic disparity in the wrong way. Yes, South Africa has a big gap between the haves and have-nots, between the top earners and the bottom earners. This is not remedied by strikes aimed at paying the bottom earners more. It should be remedied through education, job creation, entrepreneurship. If you want to narrow the margin, tax the upper earners more, but give people better social services. These services can go a long way to putting money in the pockets of the bottom earners - medical care, child benefits, free schooling, etc. Tax rates in SA are ridiculously low given the relatively small base of tax payers. In Europe, tax rates are as high as 50%. In France, millionaires might soon be paying 75% tax.

      neal.vantonder - 2012-10-08 16:39

      Brilliant! I think all South African's who still love this country should take a stand. Lets show solidarity for something for once!

      Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-10-08 17:05

      A very sober assessment of the SA situation which mirrors that one of Thatcher's Britain. Solution to our problems could lie with higher taxes for our super rich and delivery of services, as you suggest. Why should I feel proud about my city whose traffic lights do not work, trains which do not function, pot-holes everywhere, etc? All these is a fertile ground for the Scargills to rise up.

      denny.cray - 2012-10-09 10:26

      Remember that taxes (besides being theft) are a penalty to beneficial behaviour (productive work) while welfare is a subsidy (encouragement) to non-productive behaviour. When factoring in the plethora of taxes upper middle class pay you will find they are already paying more than 50% of their income to government via income tax, vat, cgt, property taxes etc. Many among this group have already left the country. This is not a closed system. You could quite easily find that increasing tax rates will lead to decreased tax revenues. Increased social welfare spending will certainly add to the every growing portion of the population who are caught in the welfare trap.

  • butch.poulter - 2012-10-08 16:20

    NOW IS THE TIME, Stop payingall municipal rates, like Sannieshof in the North West. Set up trusts, contract private companies to do the services of the useless muncipal workers. Maybe then will they feel the pinch. Unfortunately we the taxpayers 'kry nog te lekker"

  • Khuvhisto - 2012-10-08 16:20

    imagine if second term is given to the shower man, i smell a serious economic meltdown

      neal.vantonder - 2012-10-08 16:38

      I doubt you will have to wait that long. The meltdown has started!

      jay.reede - 2012-10-08 16:52

      Who is there to replace him for the better ????

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