Strike at Michaelhouse

2010-05-15 00:00

STRIKING Michaelhouse workers staged protests yesterday and threatened to disrupt the World Cup preparations of the Paraguay team at the midlands school unless their demands for a 13% salary increase are met. Michaelhouse is the training base for the Paraguay team.

The institution has been locked in wage negotiations with the union for the past few months. The union is demanding 13% while the school is offering nine percent.

Yesterday, dormitory cleaners, groundsmen and maintenance staff, among other workers, downed tools and picketed outside the school.

On Monday, they will engage in a full-blown strike.

Various incidents of violence were reported after car tyres were allegedly burnt on the road to the institution. But the picketers denied responsibility for these incidents.

Delani Sithole, one of the workers, said they will engage in industrial action for the whole month if they need to. “The World Cup preparations will be disrupted because we will not go back until the institution has met our demands.” He said many workers are being paid low wages. “There are employees here who still earn about R2 500.”

His words were echoed by another employee, who did not wish to be named, who said they were being exploited. “I have been working here for 22 years and I still earn R2 500. When I complain, they say I earn that money because I am not educated.”

Zola Sapheta, provincial secretary of the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union, said it won’t budge on its 13% demand. “This is one of the most successful institutions in the province with teachers earning large amounts of money. What they do to our union members is bad.”

Michaelhouse rector Guy Pearson said preparations for the stay of the Paraguay team are on track, and a large SA Police Force contingent in the area will ensure that Paraguay’s preparations are not jeopardised.

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