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Striking eThekwini workers bring Durban to standstill over wage dispute

Rubbish was thrown on the streets, while municipal vehicles stood parked in the city centre.

Workers protesting outside the eThekwini municipality. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

DURBAN - Police have used stun grenades to disperse striking eThekwini municipal workers in Durban on Tuesday.

Essential services remained at a standstill on Tuesday afternoon as municipal workers demanded a response from authorities to their claims that only former liberation fighters were being promoted.

Workers threw rubbish on the streets, while municipal vehicles stood parked in the centre of the city, which is getting ready to host the Indaba Tourism Exhibition in just two days’ time.

Some residents said they had had no water for weeks while rubbish wasn’t being collected.

A worker who wanted to remain anonymous said the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) was locked in talks with the municipality.

“There are former MK (uMkhonto weSizwe) combatants, not only MK, but there’s also the Azanian People's Liberation Army. But in this case, I think what was the trigger point was when the municipality moved them up to grade 10 salaries from grade 4 which increased their pay grade,” he said.

Samwu’s Khulekani Shezi said information had not been forthcoming from the municipality.

“From 12 April workers have been asking what’s happening and apparently there hasn’t been a clear indication,” he said.

It was not clear if the issues would be resolved before the indaba on Thursday.