Striking cleaners set to march

2011-08-11 15:38
Johannesburg - Two marches by striking cleaning sector workers will take place in Gauteng in the next week, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) said on Thursday.

Satawu national spokesperson Mamokgethi Molopyane said workers would gather at Beyers Naude Square before marching to Prestige Cleaning Services in City Deep, Johannesburg, on Friday.

They would march to the labour department, in Pretoria, on Monday.

Molopyane said memorandums would be handed over at both marches asking employers to stop paying slave wages.

Minister has final say

Black Economic Empowerment Cleaning Association (Beeca) chairperson Trevor Ackerman said unions would have to address their demands to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

"We have offered 8%, plus a 13th cheque or bonus. The unions have to send a motivation to the minister, who ultimately has the final say," he said.

Beeca and the National Contract Cleaning Association were hopeful that an agreement would be reached soon.

Molopyane urged the labour department to impose a basic minimum wage in the sector.

"These people work long hours, use chemicals which could lead to lung problems, have no maternity leave, no provident fund and absolutely no benefits. In this day and age that is unacceptable," she said.

Satawu workers went on strike on Monday with workers from the National Security and Unqualified Workers' Union, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union, the National Union of Hotel Restaurant Catering, Commercial Health and Allied Workers, the SA Cleaners, Security and Allied Workers' Union, and the Democratic Union of Security Workers.

List of demands

Satawu is leading negotiations on their behalf. The unions represent about 75 000 workers in the sector.

The Hotel, Liquor, Catering Commercial and Allied Workers' Union of SA and the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA went on strike last Monday.

All nine unions want the salaries of workers earning less than R2 400 a month increased to R4 200 a month. They have demanded a 10% increase for those earning above R4 200.

They have also demanded a yearly 13th cheque, an eight-hour working day, and for members in rural areas to be paid the same as their urban colleagues.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration entered negotiations in July, when a dispute was declared.

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