Cosatu backs Huguenot Tunnel strike

2015-07-06 22:48

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Cape Town - Cosatu in the Western Cape said on Monday it was throwing its weight behind the Huguenot Tunnel workers who are currently on strike.

The workers went on strike on June 25 after talks collapsed between the employer (Tolcon) and the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu). Talks were facilitated by the CCMA.

"Cosatu supports the strike by the workers... for decent wages and decent conditions of employment," said provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich.

"[Tolcon] makes a fortune from managing the toll tunnel and refuses to pay the workers a decent increase."

Satawu's spokesperson, Brightness Matwa said the company is offering a R305 increase.

Workers, however, want R400.

According to Matwa, cashiers at the tunnel's tollgate earn about R2 000 per month while general workers earn about R3 000 per month.

Also on the list of Satawu's demands was a R200 danger allowance for all workers. Tolcon has refused this, it said.

"They are working in a dangerous environment and transporting hazardous goods. The drivers are paid this allowance but not those who escort the vehicles," said Matwa, adding that the cashiers at the toll gates were also exposed to hazardous elements.

Additionally, Satawu is also calling for medical aid for general workers.

"There are maintenance workers who constantly maintain and clean the tunnel. They inhale smoke from all the vehicles that pass through, but they have no medical aid. Instead, the people sitting in the offices are the ones with access to good health facilities," said Matwa.

The union was also calling for six months’ maternity leave as well as a pro rata payout of bonuses if an employee left before December 15.

"These workers have contributed to the functioning of the company and should be paid out on a pro rata basis if they leave before the bonuses are given," said Matwa. 

There are currently no plans for the union and employer to resume discussions, he said.

"Whatever we agree on must also be backdated to March 1 because that is the date set down as an implementation date. The employer has also refused this," said Matwa.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  satawu  |  tony ehrenreich  |  cape town  |  strikes

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