Striker intimidation reports discussed: RMI

By Drum Digital
10 September 2013

Reports of striking National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members intimidating non-striking petrol attendants and car repair workers are being discussed with the union.

Reports of striking National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members intimidating non-striking petrol attendants and car repair workers are being discussed with the union, the Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI) said on Tuesday.

"We are receiving reports of incidents [of intimidation], where non-striking workers are being targeted, and some are being hurt," RMI chief executive Jakkie Olivier said.

"We are having daily meetings with Numsa to deal with these incidents, and Numsa has committed to intervene. These meetings are merely to monitor that the strike complies to the picketing rules."

Olivier said on Monday that the industry and unions had agreed to picketing rules on Friday, and that these included a clause allowing employers to use casual labour while the strike lasted.

Numsa general secretary Irwin Jim said at the start of a march on Monday that all workers in the sector should join the strike, even if they were not Numsa members.

"If you are in this sector, you are protected to join this strike -- if you are a Numsa member or not," he said.

"If you go to work when we are not at work, it means you are undisciplined," Jim said. "Run employers, run. Run amagundwane [rats], run," he said.

Soweto police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said the police had been instructed to patrol near local petrol stations.

"They are patrolling all business premises, but we have intensified the patrol around petrol stations."

Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said the union would release a statement later on Tuesday about the alleged intimidation and the progress with negotiations.

Olivier said the RMI had arranged to meet Numsa leadership on Wednesday and Thursday for negotiations.

Petrol attendants and car repair workers affiliated to Numsa embarked on a nation-wide strike on Monday.

The union marched to RMI's offices in Randburg on Monday and handed over a memorandum of demands, including one for a double-digit percentage wage increase and the banning of labour brokers.

The employers' latest offer is six percent across the board.

The union has demanded, among other things, a R30 an hour across the board increase by 2016 on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6000 a month.

Ngobese previously said workers' demands should be understood within the context of rising living and transport costs.

-Sapa

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