Germiston Street Sweepers Prepare for Strike
Street sweepers in Germiston are preparing to strike against the sub-contracted company that employs them, LMM Training & Development to clean the streets of the central business district.
LMM employs 93 workers on annual contracts. Workers’ wages vary between R2200 and R1200 per month. If they were employed directly by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) they would earn around R6000 per month. Apart from extremely low wages, the workers also not given proper protective clothing for what is often dangerous work.
The workers joined the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in 2010. But Samwu has failed to get recognition from LMM, despite twice being granted recognition by the CCMA. Worse, in 2008 EMM signed an agreement with the union that companies it contracts out to will comply with the national collective agreement for local government workers. Samwu has failed to implement its own agreement in the case of the LMM workers.
On Monday 20 August 2012 the workers marched to the Samwu local offices, demanding that the union take them and their struggle seriously. The union said it could not help them as it had ‘no relationship’ with EMM. At a mass meeting on Tuesday, the workers decided it was time to strike, and to do so without Samwu.
The workers are demanding to be employed directly by the municipality. They are now building support from their communities and other workers in a similar position.
This article first appeared in Karibu, produced by Khanya College.