Mhlathuze Water issues ultimatum to striking workers

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mhlathuze Water has issued an ultimatum to its employees who embarked on an illegal strike to immediately return to work or face consequences.

According to Mhlathuze Water spokesperson, Siyabonga Maphumulo, employees contracted to work on plants supplying water to the City of Mhlathuze Local Municipality on the north-east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, had submitted a letter to Mhlathuze Water demanding a meeting with management on Monday to address labour relations matters.

However, when the senior management of Mhlathuze Water and the City of Mhlathuze convened a meeting with representatives of the striking employees affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), the workers reneged on its request and declined to honour the meeting.

Maphumulo has reassured the public and all its stakeholders that contingency measures have been put in place to minimise disruptions to the provision of water due to the strike.

“We reiterate that the strike is illegal and unprotected and, therefore, the ‘no work, no pay’ principle will be strictly applied to all those participating in the wildcat strike. Mhlathuze Water has also approached the High Court to seek an interdict restraining these essential services employees from participating in the strike,” Maphumulo said.

Maphumulo added that the entity has in the past, through various engagements with union representatives, addressed the concerns raised by workers and even has documentary evidence signed by worker representatives in this regard.

In the latest instance, Maphumulo said no fresh grievances have been brought forward by the workers and “they are merely harping on issues that are either in the process of being resolved or had been long resolved”.

He said that while Mhlathuze Water remains committed to meaningful engagement with unions on all matters related to employee welfare, it remains equally obligated to upholding the constitutionally enshrined right of all citizens of access to potable water.

“Mhlathuze Water emphasises that no employee embarking on the illegal strike will be allowed to conduct themselves in a manner that is unbecoming, encumbers the business processes of Mhlathuze Water or results in the destruction of property.

“Strict security measures have been put in place at all Mhlathuze Water plants to ensure the safety of equipment and the welfare of those workers not embarking on the illegal strike,” Maphumulo said.

The entity has apologised to all communities and stakeholders that have been inconvenienced by the illegal strike action and assured that it’s working around the clock to speedily resolve this “temporary setback”. –