Workers strike at Unilever plant

2010-07-02 00:00

TEMPERS flared between security guards and striking employees of Vital Distributions Solutions at the Ndlovu Park warehouse in Mkondeni yesterday.

The workers had downed tools to protest the non-payment of wages and the alleged dismissal of one of their shop stewards.

The warehouse is ow ned by the conglomerate Unilever and Vital Distribution Solutions, which distributes Unilever products and is a subcontractor to Barloworld, Unilever’s logistics partner.

Tensions between workers and Vital Distributions Solutions have been simmering for a week because the workers have apparently not been paid last month’s wages.

Tempers boiled over yesterday when a shop stewards, Mncengwa Thabethe, who was negotiating with the management on behalf of the workers, was apparently banned from entering the premises.

Security guards and police officers were called to monitor the situation.

Explaining the source of the conflict, Thabethe said he had arrived at work yesterday morning to find that the finger print scanner security system no longer recognised him as an employee.

When he asked the security guards about it, he was told that management had said he is no longer welcome at the premises.

“When the other workers found out about the situation, they all downed tools and demanded that the management explains to them what is going on.

“I have no idea why I have been banned from the premises. I believe it is because I was part of the delegation that was negotiating the payment of the unpaid wages,” he said.

Thabethe said that while they are committed and ready to go back to work, they need the management to address them about the situation at the company.

Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said no incidents were reported during the strike.

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