Construction workers down tools

2017-06-29 06:00
Construction workers protest outside a construction site near Sibaya.Photo: supplied

Construction workers protest outside a construction site near Sibaya.Photo: supplied

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ON June 15 more than 300 workers and residents embarked on a protest march outside a construction site near Sibaya accusing the management of Tongaat Hulett of giving jobs to “outsiders”.

They blocked the M4 from 7am demanding jobs.

DA chairperson in Ward 106 Nhlanhla Mtshali said: “Tongaat Hulett has introduced a new system of employing people in community projects. We were told that Tongaat Hulett has adopted a new policy and will be hiring people on its own.

“They are sidelining community liaison officers, who are the link between a contractor and the residents. We are against that policy and want everything to go back to square one. We suspect that Tongaat Hulett is doing this because Wards 106 and 58 belong to the DA.

“Construction is taking place in our ward and we will not tolerate such defiant behaviour from Hulett.

“On Thursday we handed over a memorandum to a Tongaat Hulett manager, Bongani Gumede, but he refused to accept it.”

Last Monday, construction workers resumed duty after community leaders decided to call off a strike.

“The leaders decided to call off a strike and bilateral talks between Tongaat Hulett and community representatives are expected to resume this week.”

Ward 58 councillor Geoff Pullan said: “We seem to have these [protests] every week. Companies employ skilled and unskilled workers.

“Generally, the skilled ones come from anywhere, general workers should be locally sourced. Of course the big problem is that there are more work seekers than jobs available.”

Pullan urged residents to stop disrupting construction works in the wars as this “will hinder development in the area­”.

KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said: ”A group of protesters blockaded the road demanding employment. No damages or injuries were reported. The police attended and monitored the situation.”

Tongaat Hulett did not respond to questions sent to them by the Weekly at the time of going to press.


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