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​10/03/2016: Statement by the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) Cllr. Matshidiso Mfikoe, briefing the media about recurring illegal work-stoppages at Pikitup 
Statement by the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) Cllr. Matshidiso Mfikoe, briefing the media about recurring illegal work-stoppages at Pikitup

On behalf of the City of Joburg and Pikitup I would like to apologise for the disruption of waste management services and the severe inconvenience to residents of Joburg as a result of recurring unprotected work-stoppages by employees affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU).

The City and SAMWU agreed on 3 December 2015 to restore a relationship of trust and engage with each other in a process facilitated by Senior Counsel, appointed by the Gauteng Provincial Government Member of the Executive Council, Mr Jacob Mamabolo.

The City, the board and management of Pikitup therefore condemn the unlawful work stoppage on 9 March 2015. We have also received reports of violence and intimidation at depots today. This unprotected labour action is the third stoppage following an unprotected and unlawful 9 day work stoppage in the City in November and December 2015, and a complete violation of the letter and spirit of the agreement with SAMWU. The hard fought for rights of workers are embodied in progressive labour legislation. No dispute has been declared or certificate granted for SAMWU to embark on a protected strike. Labour Court interdicts were obtained in November 2015 and in February 2016 and the ongoing unprotected work-stoppages are an act of defiance on the part of SAMWU.

Events of yesterday clearly demonstrate that SAMWU is negotiating in bad faith. Employees affiliated to SAMWU embarked on the stoppage yesterday while negotiations were in progress. As the City we have done everything possible to resolve all the concerns raised by SAMWU in an amicable manner.

It is completely unacceptable and a violation of the rights of residents to service delivery, to witness yet another wave of unprotected labour action. Under the circumstances, whilst the City remains committed to the letter and spirit of the agreement with SAMWU, a conducive labour relations environment and salary adjustments to address parity issues, management has been mandated to take action against all acts of ill-discipline. In this regard we have noted claims to the media that Pikitup workers earn R 5 000 per month. This is completely untrue. No employee earns less than R 6 014.34 per month, the SALGA collective agreement entry level minimum salary. Furthermore, supervisors at Pikitup earn R 17 431.70 per month. These amounts are not inclusive of medical aid, pension and housing allowance.


To date, there have been 14 days of illegal stoppage and the ‘no work, no pay principle’ applies. The Shareholder and the Board mandated management to deduct this over a period to avoid excessive hardship to employees and accordingly the first deduction was made in February. Payroll was processed with a deduction of 7 days and 3 of these days were reversed to allow the deductions to be spread over a longer period. All employees who embarked on illegal work stoppages are affected and the remaining 10 days will be recovered over the next three months.


Following the stoppage yesterday, management issued a final ultimatum to workers to return to work by 12h00 today or face summary dismissal. This action is supported by the shareholder and the board.


The management of Pikitup has activated a recovery plan to ensure that services are restored and areas that were affected by the most recent stoppage are recovered. Pikitup will continue to update residents on their contingency plan on a daily basis.

In conclusion we are emphatic, employees must return to work. Illegal stoppages and trashing of our City cannot be justified under any circumstances.

The City of Johannesburg is your HOME! Don’t trash it. Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle.