Workers spill trash in protest at old-age home

2010-06-24 00:00

OLD-AGE home residents at the Allison Homes Trust are still on the receiving end as a wage dispute between management and its maintenance workers enters its second day.

Fourteen maintenance workers downed tools on Tuesday morning and staged a demonstration outside the old-age home , where they also cut the water supply.

“Our aim is to frustrate the residents by cutting the water supply off so that they put pressure on management, which should give us a raise,” said Emmanuel Phungula, one of the workers.

Yesterday, the workers emptied refuse bins in front of the home’s gate five, which stands as management’s main point of entry and exit.

They also continued cutting the supply of water into the retirement home, which houses over 200 pensioners.

As soon as the frustrated and irate pensioners turned the water back on yesterday, the workers switched it off again.

“As soon as we turn the water on, they turn it off. They parade around all day checking if we have turned the water on again,” a resident told The Witness.

The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We can’t even use toilets, cook, shower or take medicine.”

Another furious resident said that the dispute between management and its labour should not be their matter.

“Why must management pull us into their problems with their labour?”

The Allison Homes Trust management told The Witness on Tuesday that there is nothing further it can do since it presented a compromise offer to the workers at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

The offer is said to have been rejected.

“I’m very disappointed in the manner in which the workers and the union are dealing with the matter,”said the old-age home’s manager, Bill Sutherland.

“I believe that this does not contribute to good labour relations as we go forward.”

Sutherland said police intervention is not yet necessary because the workers “are not a physical threat to the residents”.

The regional organiser of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, Lungisani Zondi, denied any knowledge of the worker’s control over the supply of water at the retirement home.

“We never heard of such a thing and we don’t support it at all.

We acknowledge that the residents are not part of this issue and we are going to intervene,” Zondi said.

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