Pretoria – The City of Johannesburg has welcomed the end of the Pikitup strike, which it said has accumulated waste throughout the city, posing health risks and damaging the reputation of the city.
The city and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) reached an agreement on Saturday to end the unprotected strike which started on 9 March 2016.
Employees are expected to return to work immediately and there will be an end to all acts of intimidation and violence, victimisation and harassment, said the city.
According to the agreement, Pikitup will make a once-off payment of R750 to all Grade A and B workers. This will be taken into account in the further negotiations, which will commence on 11 April and conclude on 13 April 2016, under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment Infrastructure and Services, Matshidiso Mfikoe congratulated SAMWU and Pikitup on reaching an agreement facilitated by the CCMA.
During a media briefing on Sunday, Mfikoe apologised to residents for the inconvenience caused by the stoppage.
“I would also like to appeal to residents to be patient as it will take time for collection to normalise. I wish to assure residents that extraordinary measure are being taken to deal with residual putrified waste, the increase in the rat population and proliferation of insects,” said Mfikoe.
Mfikoe said over the last two weeks, the city has been able to substantively contain any further deterioration in the situation through the establishment of a Joint Operating Centre by the City Manager, to deal with the dumping and continuance of operations.
“Resources were mobilised from all entities of the city and from contracted service providers. In many areas backlogs have been effectively cleared and this operation will continue until the city is completely clean.
“This has been done in conjunction with communities who have responded to our call to avert the multiple risks posed by dumping throughout the city. The city would like to express its sincere appreciation to all organisations and communities who have contributed resources and efforts to manage the ongoing health risk the city is facing.”