Striking admin staff lock in colleagues

2009-04-17 00:00

THE striking administrative staff of the uMngungundlovu Service Centre appear to be in no mood to let up any time soon.

Yesterday they locked in their non-striking counterparts at the Pietermaritz Street offices, acting in defiance of their employer, the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department, after being served with letters demanding they be back at work by midday or face disciplinary action.

The employer and the strikers have been knocking heads mainly over money-related issues at the service centre for four weeks now.

But while both appear to be unyielding in their resolution, the non-striking employees said that at the end of the day, they are the ones who suffer.

An employee who refused to give her name said they were barricaded in their Pietermaritz Street building for the whole day, unable to even take lunch, after striking staff had locked them in.

“Most of us are not participating in the strike. We were locked in this morning and no one can come in or go out. It is ridiculous. We have not even had lunch.”

She described the situation as “pathetic”, adding that it proves that the whole strike was not well thought out by the strikers.

However, another employee from the Old Mutual Building shifted the blame to the department for refusing to reach a settlement.

“I have been with this office for years and I’m actually ashamed that we would be treated in this way. We have made a decision not to participate in the strike, not because we don’t subscribe to the sentiments, but because we don’t believe this is the way to do it. But our employer obviously doesn’t value our lives.”

In the past the non-striking employees have been pelted with eggs and tomatoes while entering the building. On Wednesday, some striking workers urinated in passages and emptied bins on the third floor of the Old Mutual Building. Cases of intimidation have been opened with the police. The department did not respond to queries yesterday.

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