Hotel workers to have 'black Christmas'

2010-12-22 20:45

Johannesburg - Hotel workers at the Orion Promenade hotel in Nelspruit will have a "black Christmas" this year as their salaries would only be paid at the end of the month, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) in Mpumalanga said on Wednesday.

"The workers will only get their salaries on December 29 because management and their union failed to agree during salary negotiations," provincial secretary Kgokedi Mphahlele told Sapa.

"This is not a matter of negotiations, our issue is on a humanitarian basis."

He said his union had been holding a conference at the hotel when workers there complained about not getting their salaries.

"We learnt that the CEO of the hotel is on holiday overseas and the general manager told us there was nothing he could while the CEO was away," he said.

"Clearly the CEO knows the importance of this season hence he took his family on holiday. Now what about these workers?"


General Manager Willem Vivier said: "There seemed to have been a miscommunication between us and the CEO.

"But we managed to contact him and arranged for the staff to get their salaries either on Friday or Saturday," said Vivier.

The workers he said had been informed about this on Wednesday.

"If the hotel does not remedy the situation and come to some sort of arrangement with workers as soon as possible, then as the largest union (in the country) we will stop using the hotel and recommend to the union's national office to do the same," said Mphahlele.

Lobbying other unions

He said Samwu would lobby other unions affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Union to boycott the hotel.

He said his union was not interfering in the business of the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union which represented workers at that hotel.

"We are disappointed to have learnt that Orion Promenade hotel staff will only receive their December salary after Christmas.

"We are crying because the workers will have a black Christmas this year," he said.

  • GT - 2010-12-22 20:59

    Maybe they should spend christmas thanking baby jesus that they have jobs, unlike millions who have lost their jobs in the last year. Even more so in the hotel industry where there has been massive strain. The Unions fail to take any responsibility for this type of situation and quite frankly they can go and suck eggs.

      Zane Fabricius - 2010-12-23 07:51

      Great comment. Posted my five cents worth of comments.

  • steff.schwartz - 2010-12-22 21:17

    Before the unions throw their toys they must ask why this does happen. I'm a business owner in the hospitality industry 5 years now. This year I will also not be paying my salaries before Christmas. The reason: the last 4 years after paying my staff before Christmas only between 20-30% of my staff showed up for work the rest of December leaving me with endless problems to keep my doors open. The only way to keep my staff coming to work is to not pay them before Christmas. Sad but true.

      Max - 2010-12-23 07:46

      Withholding their salarie is not an option. I guess your family also starve during the x-mas time. Stop treating your employees as if they are the slaves.

      Zane Fabricius - 2010-12-23 07:52

      Excellent comment

      lindorsu - 2010-12-23 08:18

      We have the same problem if the workers get their salaries before Christmas but that is not the main problem. They use there salaries before Christmas and then there is no money for the rest of December and January. Their families have a hard time and they borrow money. The result - the rest of the year they suffer financially.

      Zane - 2010-12-23 08:26

      The comment posted by Max is obviously as an Employee and not a business owner. Ignorance is bliss

      HowardX - 2010-12-23 09:34

      @Max - AFAIK, there is no requirement in the labour act for an employer to pay salaries before Christmas day. It certainly does not amount to "withholding" salaries if you pay on the normal monthly pay date. This is usually a very difficult cashflow period for many smaller companies.

      Ibo - 2010-12-23 10:51

      Instead of you creating your own law and do things in your own ways you should raise your concerns to the appropriate office which is existing. You should complain about the irresponsible action done by your workers. However your appearing on the plight of the boss who was mentioned on the article here it prove that your hand is long and probably your fingers are in everywhere, how you know that what happened to you last time is his reason? How can we be sure that greediness and known attitude is not the behind motive of the delays? I am sure that concerns and questions like this are the cause there is place dealing with both rights of employee & employer.

  • Kristi10 - 2010-12-22 21:37

    Most people in the hospitality industry gets paid after Christmas. It is one of the busiest parts of the year and you need the staff to show up for their shifts...

  • Julie - 2010-12-22 22:53

    Typical - those heading business undertakings - regardless of the type of business being run - will make sure that their fatcat salaries are paid in time in order for them to enjoy the festive season, but workers will always be sucking on the hind tit. Pensioners are in the same boat - they are expected to live on a mere pittance, often being only to afford dog and cat food, but Big Boss sits down at a table literally groaning under the weight of goodies and sufficient booze to sink a battleship...

      lindorsu - 2010-12-23 08:23

      Julie you don't understand. The workers and a lot of other people don't manage their money - they blow it in one go. Then they suffer for the rest of the year. By paying them as normal at the end of the month you help them to cope for much longer. Also they don't drink that much.

      Peter - 2010-12-23 08:38


      HowardX - 2010-12-23 09:39

      Julie, clearly you have never run a business. In many industries there is little income during the Christmas period and in this recession period some of those "Fatcats" are re-mortgaging their houses and selling assets to pay their ungrateful staff. They have zero understanding that if it was not for Big Boss they wouldn't have an income in the first place. Your opinion is typical of the average South African worker who seems to believe that jobs and a salary fall out of the sky and that business owners are some kind if evil impediment to their lives.

      gmck21 - 2010-12-23 09:54

      well julie maybe one day you will better yourself and not be an employee but a boss. Then you can comment and understand what it takes to run a business properly. Its not a matter of ethics but a matter of business. if staff are payed early in Dec and dont pitch for work should we then fire them?? thats a even bigger mission

      shaun.tielman - 2010-12-23 11:28

      Well said HowardX!

  • Boetman - 2010-12-22 23:12

    Dear News24 ~ what is your point with this story? Did Orion Hotel break the law? Did the employer not honor his labour contracts? Can the CEO not go on holiday in December? It seems the Union is complaining about an ageed upon issue & you are rubbishing a company's reputation for nothing???

      gmck21 - 2010-12-23 09:56

      Anything to do with a union ends in an eish kind of a product! If unions were actually reasonable, negotiations would run smoothly. But its the way of less want more money!! And i agree with youn 100% why is this even news?

  • jacquesotto - 2010-12-23 01:21

    i am being paid the 28th so what. Dont spend what you dont have.

  • Fudge Pecker - 2010-12-23 02:29

    Shame, I also work in hospitality and I don't get paid till after Xmas.... Shame... That is why I save.... these people know when X-mas will be.... SAVE... Who's fault is it that X-mas is on the 25th.... all other months are paid at the end... Yeah, Boycott the Hotel and then the staff will be unemployed, never mind not paid b4 Xmas... Sure lots of Black businesses also only pay at the end of the month... now it's a white owner and it makes headlines, YAWN.... news24 rather post more serious reports like that of innocent elderly white people being brutally murdered...!!!

  • awwgee - 2010-12-23 05:28

    Holding a conference? My guess is that this was a "Christmas lunch" that the union was having, or an excuse not to do any work. Why should the staff be paid any earlier than any other month? To the hospitality industry, December is probably their busiest month, but at the same time it is just another month, and just another working day. News24 is sensationalizing something that does not need to be!

  • honey_badger - 2010-12-23 05:29

    GT well said, sadly i'm among those without a job and DH is trying to hang on to his. DH's compamy only pay a mere R1500 for bonus, but we not complaining. He also only gets his salary after Christmas. We dont believe in spending what we dont have. But durning the year we squirrel away each month. irst it used to be so our boys couls have the joy of Christmas, now its a habit. At the moment we are saving like crazy to o visit our first grandson in America. What a Christmas 2011 will be!!!!!!!

  • honey_badger - 2010-12-23 05:31

    ps Please excuse the typo's my keyboard is about as old as I am lol

  • Zane Fabricius - 2010-12-23 07:45

    We employ roughly 500 cleaners. The fact that we have been able to keep all their position for this challenging year is blessing enough. Why should the word Christmas change everything. Years of experience tought us that if you pay before Christmas, they don't return for a few days and then have the worst excuses for doing so. The Unions must stop milking the Employees for membership fees and always find fault with Employers. They are the reason for their own Black Christmas, unreliable and untrustworthy. Years of experience is proof of this. Their actions are crippling to our business. Z

      Smaal - 2010-12-23 08:04

      Agreed. Had the same issues. After a while the business didn’t make any financial sense. No point in managing a business where the rewards don’t justify the efforts and don’t get me started on the politics. I thank the lord that I still have a decent position else I probably would not have been able to liquidate that business. I don’t think it’s feasible or worth it to start an honest business in South Africa today when it’s much easier and cost effective to import from China.

  • Smaal - 2010-12-23 07:49

    Imagine that, getting paid on the 29’th. I personally believe the CEO is doing these workers a favour. If they can’t afford to spend money on the festive season without an early December cheque then they should not be spending any money of the festive season in the first place. It seems the workers will actually have money for January, imagine that! Maybe a black Christmas but I predict a white January. Now that is humanitarian.

      Zane - 2010-12-23 08:32

      You have made my year. Thought I was alone in this jungle!!!

  • gmck21 - 2010-12-23 09:51

    hahhaah maybe the unions should shut the F@@K UP FOR A CHANGE AND THEY WOULDVE BEEN PAID.. AHAHAHAHAH viva viva amandla!!!

  • KaiinSA - 2010-12-23 09:55

    I wont mention Easter or they might want paying before that too. When I was an employee I would always get paid on or around 15th Dec and I agree with everyone that it does make for a very tough January. My spouse got 13th cheque on 15th and will get paid on 24th as usual now that to me does make far more sense. I have to wait until my customers pay before I can take my Dec pay and am sure that the hotel owners also have to wait until there is enough in the kitty once the staff have been paid. News24 once again seem to be an ANC/Unions mouth piece without having put any of their own thought in to what they are writing.

  • sceptic - 2010-12-23 13:51

    Unions absolutely P!$$ me off big time!! Everyone in South Africa gets paid on or around the 27th of each month. On countless occassions it is proven that workers skip two days after boxing day. I do not blame businesses for paying staff after xmas. It assures that they will return to work. In big businesses this does not apply but most definately in small businesses like mine. Once bitten, twice shy the saying goes. I WILL pay my staff after Xmas. They had the whole year to save for the holidays.....

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