Dump workers raise infection and contract concerns through protest action

Workers protesting at the Humberdale Waste Site.

DUMP workers went on strike this week because, well, they said they had been ‘dumped’ in ‘hazardous conditions’ by their employers.

Some have even fallen ill because 105 workers were forced to use only three ‘disgusting’ portable toilets at the Humberdale Waste Site which is overflowing and has long been a stinking bone of contention.

‘Neglected’contract labourers with the Expanded Public Works Programme downed spades on Thursday, June 8.

They started working earlier this year and claimed their concerns about contracts, payslips and conditions had been ignored.

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Contracted supervisor Marc Govender said about 12 women had contracted infections and had to be sent to various hospitals and clinics for treatment.

They blamed on-site portable toilets.

“This is a bucket system,” one of the workers told the Mail. “How can 105 workers be expected to make do with three toilets like this?”

Mr Govender said medical care options had not been provided to them at the waste site.

In one of many incidents, including injuries on duty, Mr Govender himself had to transport injured to either local clinics or hospitals at his own cost.

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The workers had also not been supplied with basic protective gear such as masks. Many of the uniforms were also damaged.

During the protest – which lasted through to the next day – garbage trucks and private refuse collection companies were forced to dump outside the waste site.

Garbage collections were halted temporarily as a result of the back log. Umdoni Municipality had not responded to questions at the time of publication.


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Juan Venter

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