City optimistic in Pikitup strike talks

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pretoria - As strike action by Pikitup workers entered day 13 on Tuesday morning, the City of Johannesburg says there's a glimmer of hope in their protracted efforts to find a resolution.

The Labour Court on Monday ordered the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the City of Johannesburg to return to the negotiating table, with both parties meeting at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday.

"Talks continued for over seven hours, finishing at around 12:30 am. The talks were fairly positive and one would say that there is reason to be optimistic," City of Johannesburg communications director, Gabu Tugwana, said.

Workers at Pikitup who are affiliated to SAMWU have been on strike since 7 April. The union is demanding, among others, that casual workers be made permanent employees, and that an investigation be commissioned into corruption and irregular tenders that were awarded.

Tugwana said one of the sticking points of full time employment had been discussed. He added that there were other "new additional matters" that would be discussed over a longer term period.

He said the two parties would return to the CCMA on Wednesday for further discussions.

However, SAMWU spokesperson Tahir Sema said talks yesterday did not yield high levels of commitment from the employer.

As the strike continues, refuse continues to pile up on curbs around the city. Businesses in the CBD especially have voiced concern over the health implications.

"The city shares the growing anger among residents about the continuing non-delivery of refuse removal services. We are convinced that the outstanding issues can be resolved through negotiations in good faith," said the City. - BuaNews