Germiston Street Cleaners Strike
Ninety three Germiston street sweepers have been on strike since 28 September, 2012. The workers have been employed by a sub-contractor, LMM Training & Development, but are demanding that they be employed directly by the Ekurhuleni municipality. The workers earn an average of R1500 per month working for the sub-contractor, whereas they would be earning a minimum of R6000 if they were employed by the municipality.
The strike has been marked by a high level of collusion between the employer, the Metro police and the SAPS. The employer has been driving around Germiston, pointing out workers, for the Metro police and SAPS to beat, harass and intimidate. Four workers were arrested on trumped up charges, which kept changing from public violence to malicious damage to property. The workers are on a protected strike and won a labour court order giving them the right to picket. This did not stop the employer and a bakkie-load of armed thugs sjambokking 3 workers and a staff member of the Casual Workers Advice Office, which has been supporting the workers in their struggle. The Metro police have also consistently refused the workers permission to demonstrate or march in support of their demands.
The street cleaners have joined the local Solidarity Committee, which organized a spontaneous march to the Ekurhuleni municipal offices demanding that it employ the workers directly.
This article first appeared in Karibu, the newsletter of Khanya College