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Samwu regional, national offices at loggerheads over Pikitup strike

Samwu regional head says they will continue with strike despite national calling for it to end.

Striking Pikitup workers affiliated to Samwu embarked on an unprotected strike in the Johannesburg CBD, 10 March 2016. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

CAPE TOWN - South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) regional leaders in Johannesburg say Pikitup workers will continue with their unprotected strike, despite their national structures sending out a statement calling for workers to return.

The illegal work stoppage is now in its third day, with management vowing to dismiss all workers who did not report for duty this morning.

Striking workers are demanding better salaries and Pikitup boss Amanda Nair to be fired.

Samwu's national office says it has engaged its regional leadership, who are leading the strike, and urged the nearly 4,000 workers to go back to work immediately.

It's also promised to organise a meeting with Pikitup management to address their grievances.

But the union's Johannesburg Deputy Regional Secretary Paul Tlhabang says they will instead continue with their strike.

"We cannot compromise that opportunity. All that is expected is to put pressure on all those that are accountable to implement what is due to those employees."

All depots in Johannesburg remain closed for now.

Meanwhile, Red Ant workers were this afternoon cleaning up the streets of Johannesburg while Pikitup employees affiliated to Samwu vowed to continue with their unprotected strike.

Red Ant workers swept the streets and removed piled up refuse bags before the rubbish causes a health problem in the city.

Pikitup says it is expensive to fork out money for a private contractor, but that it has no other option.

Workers affiliated to rival union, Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), claim they were again intimidated by striking Samwu workers when they tried to return to work this morning.

But Tlhabang denies this.

"We know this is the tendency of Imatu; always when they are faced with a situation like this, they want to be the ones that are innocent."

WATCH: Red Ants and Global Waste team up to clean up JHB in December 2015