About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

24 April 2011

Pikitup Strikers - Shouldn't they really be heroes?

The Pikitup (the municipal agency in Johannesburg, which is responsible for garbage removal) ended on Thursday, after approximately 3 weeks. The non removal of garbage from across the city has had its impact, and there are off course a number of calls in the media to be not charged for services not delivered. On top of this, the ANC has accused the union SAMWU, its ally, of sabotaging the ANC election campaign in the upcoming local government elections.

Amongst all this, the subject of why Pikitup workers were striking seem to be conveniently forgotten. The workers had three agenda points - investigation of corruption and nepotism in senior management, the treatment of temporary workers and wage disparities. The fact that they settled the strike without any agreement on wage disparities - the subject of almost all industrial action in South Africa in the recent past, shows that this strike was nothing to do with money.

What I find worrying, is not that there was a strike which affected all residents of Johannesburg, but that the workers were striking to get action to investigate allegations of corruption and nepotism. Has our municipal system become so corrupt, that the only way to draw attention of corruption and nepotism in the senior management of municipalities is through striking? Has the political leadership of the municipality completely lost it?

So unlike many of my fellow residents, I will not criticise SAMWU or the workers of Pikitup. In fact, I think they need to be commended for taking a stance. And perhaps the rest of the residents of Johannesburg should actually complain, not about the strike, but the leadership higher up that should have resolved the issue of corruption and nepotism long before it got here.

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