Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stadium Strike Ends

And not a moment too soon. Strikers who marched through the city with knobkerries, threatened non-striking workers, and tried to break through barriers at the Green Point site begrudgingly accepted a mere 12% pay increase, disappointingly far short of the 13% they demanded.

A 12% wage offer ended a week-long strike by 70000 workers at World Cup construction sites, officials said today (July 15).

“The employers and unions agreed on 12%,” SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) spokesman Schalk Ackerman said.

One of the sticking points in negotiations was the employer requiring an undertaking by unions that they would not strike again before the 2010 World Cup.

But Ackerman said it was agreed the right to further industrial action before the World Cup was “limited but not precluded”.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) described the wage agreement as “very good for labour”.

The agreement between NUM, the Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union (BCAWU), and Safcec was reached in the early hours of this morning.

It was welcomed by the 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee.

“The workers and employers have paved the way to the timely construction of the stadiums to be used during the World Cup next year,” said its chief executive, Danny Jordaan.

“The agreement gives practical meaning to their commitment to infrastructural development in South Africa, a key to future economic prosperity for our country and achieving sustainable peace and stability.”

About 70000 construction workers at five of the 10 World Cup stadiums and several other key infrastructure projects downed tools on July 8 over pay.

The 2010 stadiums affected by the industrial action included Moses Mabhida in Durban, Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane, Green Point in Cape Town, Mbombela in Nelspruit, Soccer City in Johannesburg and Mthatha.

It also affected other projects including the King Shaka International Airport, the Kusile project, Eskom’s Medupi project, the Coega project, the Livingston hospital and the Gautrain.

NUM reported that 95% of the sites were hit by the strike which threatened the completion of work on 2010 stadiums.

The Fifa deadline for the completion of all stadiums is October 15 this year.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the agreement was better than expected.

“It is a very good agreement for labour. We hope our members are going to be excited.

“What we got for them was actually better than (what) they had given us a mandate for,” he told Sapa.

In a statement, Safcec said NUM and BCAWU would call off the strike after a signing session at noon at the offices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in Johannesburg.

NUM had initially demanded a wage increase of 13% and the employer body offered 10,4%. Safcec later increased its offer to 11,5%.

Construction workers were expected to return to work at 7am on Thursday.

“Let the construction restart in earnest. We cannot wait for June 11, 2010 when the Fifa World Cup kicks off,” Jordaan said. – Sapa

2 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

This was just pure underclass extortion. See how easy it is to get a 12% increase even in a world recession? Expect even more strikes to roll out across the board.

Anonymous said...

I want to see where they'll get jobs from next year?? Should be good.