Waste removal workers demand employment contracts

Workers in a dispute with their company hold placards, claiming that they have not been given employment contracts.

After two years of employment without contracts, workers responsible for waste removal in Tembisa are furious at the unfair treatment they claim to receive from the City of Ekurhuleni’s main contractor, MCC Before Dawn.

The workers said they have been employed for years without employment contracts. They also said there were occasions where they were paid without receiving payslips.

When they raised their grievances with the contractor on August 28, they were told to hand over keys to their trucks to their employer.

Since then, several areas across Tembisa have experienced disruptions of waste collection services.

Nigel Malatjie, a workers’ representative, said the workers have suffered long enough working without contracts.

Waste removal workers claim they have been employed without employment contracts.

“When our previous contractor handed over to MCC Before Dawn in 2016, we’ve been working without our personal data being captured. We are assuming the current contractor is using a database that was previously used by the former contractor because no one from MCC Before Dawn has demanded our personal details. What they required from us were our banking details,” said Malatjie.

Malatjie complained that since their transfer to the MCC Before Dawn, they have encountered difficulties. He said some of their colleagues have been suspended without a valid reason. Some have been fired, he said.

“We’ve realised that our jobs might also be on the line,” he added.

The workers have on August 29 decided to approach the council’s Tembisa Customer Care Centre (CCC) at Rabasotho to hand over a memorandum of grievances, reporting their complaints to Busisiwe Mokoena, the city’s waste manager.

“They told us that they can only assist after engaging with the contractor since we are not employed by them. They promised to phone us but to no avail. We believe this is the responsibility of the city. They must deal with their contractor so that they can issue employment contracts and give us payslips on time,” added Malatjie.

Workers gathered during a meeting at Ebuhleni on September 5.

The workers also claimed that although unemployment fund is deducted monthly, they have since discovered that the company is not registered.

“We are still shocked to learn that the company we work for is not registered with the Department of Labour. My question is why are we even paying tax? Our truck drivers have been struggling with their tax returns claims” asked Malatjie.

The spokesperson for MCC Velaphi Magagula said the allegations raised by the workers were not true.

“The workers have recently engaged in an illegal strike and prevented other workers from working. We’ve got proof that all the employees have in fact signed the contracts with us. They do receive their payslips every month,” said Magagula.

Magagula said the confusion might have been caused by the workers who were engaged in an illegal strike, and the employee who faced a disciplinary hearing.

“I admit that I demanded the trucks’ keys because the workers did not want to go to work following a disciplinary hearing. Our duty as MCC Before Dawn is to keep Tembisa clean. They went as far as replacing their own union and recruited a political party, the EFF. They fired the union for advising them not to engage in an illegal strike without following proper channels,” he said.

Magagula said he was not happy about the manner in which the workers were trying to tarnish his company’s reputation.

“As a company, we’ve got a mandate to keep the area clean, but unfortunately there are people who have ulterior motives and interfere with our work,” said Magagula.

When asked about whether the employees were registered with the Department of Labour, Magagula said he advised the workers to engage with their employers (Community-Based Contractors) about the matter as they are hired by them.

The Tembisan has approached the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality for a comment on the allegations by the workers. At the time of going to print, there had been no response.

  AUTHOR
Malebo Tseke
Journalist

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