Cosatu supports strikes in KZN

By Drum Digital
03 October 2012

Cosatu on Wednesday expressed its support for striking workers demanding higher wages in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We call on workers to leave no stones unturned in ensuring their demands are met," provincial secretary Zet Luzipo said in Durban.

Workers represented by the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were on strike in the province.

"We view these strikes that are mushrooming all over the place to be a direct consequence of the opportunistic behaviour of employers, who have been paying workers poverty wages for years, and who have been engaged in divide-and-rule tactics by trying to set one worker against one worker."

Luzipo said employees were right to demand higher salaries.

"Employers must address the workers' demands before the workers return to work," he said.

On Tuesday Numsa announced that 245 workers at Dunlop Belting Products in Howick were dismissed after striking for about six weeks.

The workers had been on strike since August 22, demanding an increase in salaries and to have their benefits reinstated, provincial Numsa secretary Mbuso Ngubane said. Initially the workers wanted a 10 percent raise with four weeks bonus pay. The employer offered five percent with no bonus.

The workers later lowered their demand to a 6.7 percent increase, with four weeks bonus pay, but the employer offered 5.7 percent with no bonus, Ngubane said.

"We are going to meet with the employer [Dunlop Belting Products] because you can't introduce a dismissal without sorting out the problem," Luzipo said.

Workers at Toyota Prospecton, in Durban, had been on strike since Monday. The workers, represented by Numsa, wanted an increase of R3.22 an hour.

Truck drivers were on a nationwide strike for a 12 percent salary increase while employers offered 8.5 percent for next year, and another 0.5 percent the following year.

Workers at Petmin's Somkhele mine near Mtubatuba went on strike last week. They wanted a take-home salary of between R10,000 and R15,000 a month. They currently earned between R4000 and R6000. A security guard was killed on Monday during the illegal strike.

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