Interdict sought to stop strike

2009-07-01 11:26

Johannesburg - The SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) said on Wednesday it would apply for an interdict to stop workers at World Cup sites from going on strike.

"We are looking to obtain an interdict from the labour court to stop the strike on the basis that it is premature," SAFCEC spokesperson Joe Campanella said.

He said this application would be made "as soon as possible".

Parties were not currently in any kind of negotiations, Campanella said.

The Building Construction and Allied Workers Union (BCAWU) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had served notice for strike action.

"If it goes ahead it would be the biggest strike ever to hit the construction industry," BCAWU general secretary Narius Moloto said on Wednesday.

Construction workers at World Cup soccer sites planned to down tools on July 8 if various demands were not met.

Moloto said the strike notice followed a deadlock in wage talks last Friday June 26 mediated by the senior commissioner of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

"BCAWU believes that issues giving rise to the strike could well be resolved by the employers, as they are reasonable and fair," Moloto said.

The union was asking for a 13% wage increase, while employers were offering 10%.

The unions wanted workers to be put on formal skills, training and development programmes.

They also wanted a retirement fund to be set up in the industry.

"Currently, employers only pay skills development levies in the form of a tax, but never train their employees.

"In considering strike action, the union... [has] taken into consideration the national interests surrounding 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums and road infrastructure," said Moloto.

On Tuesday NUM said many projects would be affected by the strike action such as the Moses Mabhida, Nelson Mandela, Soccer City and the Mthatha stadiums.

It would affect the King Shaka International Airport, the Kusile project, Eskom's Medupi project, the Coega project, the Livingston hospital and the Gautrain.