Beach strike deadlock

2012-08-01 00:00

RESOLVING the two-week strike between 35 lifeguards and their employer, Tower 13, looks hopeless as the parties cannot come to any agreement.

A disciplinary hearing will be held tomorrow at which striking lifeguards will be fired, said a legal document issued by Barry, Botha and Breytenbach Inc, attorneys acting on behalf of Tower 13.

A lifeguard who has been communicating with The Witness, who will not be named, said they were aware of the document.

The lifeguard said neither he nor his colleagues would be returning.

The notice to dismiss has been pasted on all lifeguard towers and sent to lifeguards using cellphone text messages.

The lifeguards’ main complaint is that they want to work for Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM) instead as they claim their wages and benefits would be better.

“We know we will get dismissed on Thursday and keep asking to see a representative from the municipality. If they don’t see us then we will have to take another step,” said the lifeguard, who claims to speak for the group. He did not want to disclose the next step.

HCM has made it clear that it will not deal with the lifeguards since they do not employ them, but will, if necessary, speak to Tower 13, which is the contractor, if beach safety becomes a concern.

The legal document said the lifeguards have snubbed efforts at conciliation and continue to demand employment by HCM.

It further warns “a zero tolerance approach to intimidation will be adopted and protection officers will be requested to arrest any person who intimidates and or threatens a lifeguard at any beach”.

Leon Garbade of Tower 13 said yesterday that fully trained replacement lifeguards have been employed to replace those who are striking.

As a result, all beaches are open.

He said a further 18 lifeguards will commence training on November 28 as this would ensure there was a large pool available over the festive season.

“Tower 13 aims to ensure that only properly trained lifeguards of the best calibre will man Hibiscus Coast beaches,” said Garbade.

• elaine@feveronline.co.za

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