Strikers turn off water at old age home

2010-06-23 00:00

MORE than 200 pensioners were left without water yesterday following a wage dispute between the Allison Homes Trust management and its 14 maintenance workers.

In a bid to get management’s attention, the angry workers cut off the home’s water supply by tampering with water meters outside the premises.

The workers’ move fuelled anger among the elderly residents, who said the dispute has nothing to do with them.

One of the residents, who asked not to be named, told The Witness that although the general sentiment within the residence is that management and workers “are taking their frustration out on us”, they received “a warning” not to talk to the media from management.

“I pay my rent every month. I can’t understand why I’ve got no water,” said a concerned resident.

“Now the residents can’t make breakfast and some of them are very sick … There are people here who need to take pills and they can’t because there’s no water.”

One of the workers, Allison Dlamini, told The Witness they cut the water supply at the Burger Street home “because we want the residents to complain to the managers so that they will listen to us”.

Dlamini said he and his colleagues decided to strike because management has refused to raise their wages after many years of service. “Contracted workers get better pay for the same job.”

They said much has changed for the worse at Allison Homes Trust.

Chairperson John Wingfield dismissed the workers’ claims and said the old-age home had made a compromise offer that they rejected.

“We’ve been to the CCMA and we made a compromise offer, which the workers and their union rejected,” Wingfield told The Witness.

“We already advised [union] Nehawu that if the strike continues to disrupt, we are going to lay charges against the workers.”

The Witness was informed that the water was turned back on late yesterday.

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