BUFFALO City law enforcement officers were called to municipal offices at the Orient beach yesterday when general workers allegedly threatened supervisors.
This was amid a dispute in which about 60 workers downed tools on Monday, disgruntled that new uniforms , which they were expecting four months ago, had still not arrived.
The workers are responsible for cleaning beaches in the Buffalo City Metro.
Workers yesterday reportedly tried to barge into the offices of supervisors.
Supervisors at the scene told the Daily Dispatch workers had beaten them, an allegation the workers denied.
“They are lying. We did not attack anybody, we are simply fighting for our rights.
“We don’t have the proper working material.
“We often come to work wearing our own clothes and that is not right,” said worker Xolisa Nano.
The workers said the municipality had promised to deliver the uniforms several times but had failed to do so.
They showed their old work suits and shoes.
“It is such a disgrace that a metro would have such dirty workers. Even if something could happen to us while we are working, nobody could identify we are municipal workers because we wear our own clothes sometimes,” another worker, Simphiwe Madikane, added.
Eight new temporary workers, who were also at the Orient offices yesterday morning, found themselves in the middle of the dispute.
Speaking to the Dispatch, Lethukuthula Makhubalo said workers who barged in became physical.
“We were called to start working today [Thursday], but when we got here we were physically and verbally attacked by the workers saying we had come to take away their jobs.”
Temporary workers, who have been placed at the beach since last year, said they were being fired to accommodate the new workers.
“We have been failed – that is why we are fighting – because it is painful to us we are being fired now when the general manager promised us we would be permanent,” said temporary worker Kholiwe Jamani.
The new temporary workers said they would continue coming to work despite the protest by the workers.
BCM spokesman Thandy Matebese said the municipality was still waiting for a full report from the superintendent of the workers and could not specify when the workers would go back to work.
The metro reportedly did not have any uniforms to hand out to its workers as they were awaiting deliveries from outside companies. — email@example.com