Unions to step up strike action today

2011-07-12 07:17

Two unions involved in key sector strikes countrywide will step up their action today, with mass marches planned for Durban and Johannesburg.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is expected to lead a National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) march in Durban from 9am.

Thousands of workers in the engineering sector were expected to gather at the King Dinizulu statue, opposite Durban Christian Centre at 9am.

Workers would then hand over a memorandum to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA at the Durban City Hall.

More than 120 000 engineering workers are demanding pay rises ranging from 10% to 13%, and a ban on labour brokers.

The strike in the engineering industry – which began last week – is being led by Numsa, the Metal and Electrical Workers’ Union, and the SA Equity Workers’ Association.

About 70 000 fuel and other workers joined them yesterday, pushing for a minimum salary of R6 000 a month and a 40-hour work week.

This strike could see supplies of medicine and petrol interrupted.

Those involved in the second strike are expected to gather at 10am in Johannesburg to march to the Chamber of Mines in the city centre.

Unions involved in the Johannesburg march included the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union, the General Industries Workers’ Union of SA and the South African Chemical Workers’ Union.

Metro police said traffic would be diverted in the CBD. The march was expected to start at the Workers’ Library in Newtown and proceed down Miriam Makeba, Market, Simmonds, Marshall and Holland streets.

Last week, violence during the strike resulted in one death and six injuries.

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