By Nangamso Mabindla
27 July 2005
THE three-day, nationwide strike by members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) hit Buffalo City with the union leaders handing over a memorandum to the executive mayor in front of the East London City Hall.
Workers went on strike following a deadlock in wage negotiations between union leaders and the South African Local Government Association (Salga). The unions are demanding a 9 percent increase across the board, while Salga is offering 6 percent.
In the memorandum handed over to Mayor Sindisile Maclean, Samwu called for the council to change Salga's mandate to meet the worker's demands. These included a minimum wage of R3 000, section 57 managers to be covered by the wage agreement, and a single year wage agreement.
Maclean, flanked by members of the Salga executive, said he would pass it on to the association on behalf of the union. "We have received the memorandum and we will make sure it reaches the intended recipients," he said.
He commended the workers for marching peacefully, saying it showed that they respected the Buffalo City community. After addressing the crowd Maclean signed the memorandum.
The strike will continue on Thursday, 28 July, with protesting workers gathering in the central business district from 10am.