5 protesters held in W Cape

2009-07-28 13:09

Cape Town - Five municipal workers were "detained" by the police in Paarl on Tuesday while taking part in a protest for better pay, an SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) official said.

"We have received reports of police intimidation in Mossel Bay and Paarl," Andre Adams said.

"In Paarl we have received reports that five workers have been detained. Our shop stewards are currently on their way to Paarl police station to verify the reasons for the detention."

Adams said the police were trying to prevent Samwu members from picketing in front of municipal buildings in Cape Town.

"The pickets are lawful pickets in terms of the Labour Relations Act. This abuse of state machinery to smash legitimate strike protests is strongly condemned by the union."

Wage offer increased

The SA Local Government Association has called on unions to return to the negotiating table, saying it had already "significantly" upped its wage offer from 10.5% to 13%. Unions wanted 15%.

Adams said the union would seek a mandate on the latest offer from workers on Tuesday.

On Monday eight "unruly" protesters and four police officers were injured during a service delivery protest in Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape.

Captain Malcolm Pojie said the police used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse Samwu members when they became violent towards policemen and motorists.

Extra law enforcement had to be sent to Khayelitsha, Killarney and Nyanga outside Cape Town after reports of assaults and intimidation by striking municipal workers.

City of Cape Town spokesperson Kylie Hatton said striking workers assaulted a law enforcement officer at the Nyanga terminus.

Adams said around 6 000 union members marched through the suburb of Bellville, outside Cape Town, to Salga's offices.

Hatton said just 3 468, or 17.4%, of the city's 22 129 municipal workers were reported absent without leave.