Prison guards strike over ‘slave’ deal

2009-08-15 00:00

GUARDS at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg downed tools in a dispute over backpay and unhappiness over the new occupation-specific dispensation (OSD).

By late yesterday afternoon, the guards were locked into negotiations with the area commissioner, Andile Mdletshe, and the regional commissioner.

Sources said that under the new OSD agreement they will no longer be paid for overtime.

In addition, guards were expecting backpay in this week’s pay package, but this will now only be paid in two to four weeks’ time.

“Yesterday, the members received unsigned correspondence from the communications head office saying we will get the money in two weeks and early this morning we received another unsigned correspondence saying we will only get it at the end of the month … ”

The guards also complained that the new shift schedule under the OSD agreement has turned them into slaves. They said that according to the new arrangement, weekends and public holidays are treated as normal days and there is no more overtime for them.

The guards vowed that they will not work, as they are implementing the “no pay, no work” policy.

Thami Zondi, a spokesman for the Correctional Services Department, said it would comment on Monday as they were still in negotiations.

A casualty of the strike was the sentencing of cemetery rapist and murderer Sibusiso Derrick Duma. Warders did not bring him to court yesterday, so he will only be sentenced on Monday. —WR.

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