Trouble brews at Warriors

2012-04-07 18:33

National First Division (NFD) side African Warriors players have threatened to embark on mass action to protest over alleged unfair labour practices and the employment situation at the Free State-based club.

They alleged that money was deducted from their salaries for yellow cards, being overweight and sustaining injuries.

A player who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged that the club slashed three players’ salaries by 50% last month after management said they were not happy with their performance.

He said Orlin Powell, Siyabonga Witbooi and Sipho Tshabalala had their salaries cut because they were overweight.

He added that the decision to slash the players’ salaries has caused a mini uproar in the club and players are contemplating a go-slow to protest against the action.

“But we are afraid to vent our frustrations and displeasure over the alarming rate of unfair labour practice and the unsavoury approach of the club’s management,” said the player.

Another player added they didn’t understand why players were hit in the pocket for being overweight.

“Those players really tried hard to reduce their weight and eventually reached the target. I guess that was not good enough so their salaries were deducted,” he said.

South African Football Players Union (Safpu) general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe has condemned Warriors’ action.

“Players deserve to be treated with respect. We cannot have a situation where players are paid late every month. This week, we visited the players in QwaQwa and were shocked to find them going to bed on empty stomachs because they had not been paid.

“We had to buy them food. This is unacceptable because some of these players are playing without contracts. I think club owners need to own up and correct things,” said Gaoshubelwe.

Club owner Jabu Khumalo said they had warned the players several times to up their game or risk forfeiting part of their salaries as punishment.

“The coach gave overweight players an ultimatum. He designed a programme for them and they were able to lose that weight. I only warned them, I never deducted money from them. I cannot afford to have unhappy players,” said Khumalo.

He also referred to Safpu as hopeless.

“Don’t tell me about that hopeless union. They are failing the players. They are cowards. I pay all my players on time not because the union wants me to do so,” he said.

The three players refused to comment.

Last year City Press showed pictures of Warriors’ players living in squalid conditions. The club is ninth on the NFD log, with 30 points from 22 outings.

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