Striking cleaners set to march

2011-08-11 15:38

Johannesburg - Two marches by striking cleaning sector workers will take place in Gauteng in the next week, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) said on Thursday.

Satawu national spokesperson Mamokgethi Molopyane said workers would gather at Beyers Naude Square before marching to Prestige Cleaning Services in City Deep, Johannesburg, on Friday.

They would march to the labour department, in Pretoria, on Monday.

Molopyane said memorandums would be handed over at both marches asking employers to stop paying slave wages.

Minister has final say

Black Economic Empowerment Cleaning Association (Beeca) chairperson Trevor Ackerman said unions would have to address their demands to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

"We have offered 8%, plus a 13th cheque or bonus. The unions have to send a motivation to the minister, who ultimately has the final say," he said.

Beeca and the National Contract Cleaning Association were hopeful that an agreement would be reached soon.

Molopyane urged the labour department to impose a basic minimum wage in the sector.

"These people work long hours, use chemicals which could lead to lung problems, have no maternity leave, no provident fund and absolutely no benefits. In this day and age that is unacceptable," she said.

Satawu workers went on strike on Monday with workers from the National Security and Unqualified Workers' Union, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union, the National Union of Hotel Restaurant Catering, Commercial Health and Allied Workers, the SA Cleaners, Security and Allied Workers' Union, and the Democratic Union of Security Workers.

List of demands

Satawu is leading negotiations on their behalf. The unions represent about 75 000 workers in the sector.

The Hotel, Liquor, Catering Commercial and Allied Workers' Union of SA and the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA went on strike last Monday.

All nine unions want the salaries of workers earning less than R2 400 a month increased to R4 200 a month. They have demanded a 10% increase for those earning above R4 200.

They have also demanded a yearly 13th cheque, an eight-hour working day, and for members in rural areas to be paid the same as their urban colleagues.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration entered negotiations in July, when a dispute was declared.

  • Rob Gunning - 2011-08-11 15:41

    Wonder if they're gooign to make a huge mess again like Monday. Every time they do these things I lose all empathy.

      saabnut - 2011-08-11 15:47

      More importantly- who are they going to blame? After all, it is never the strikers or union members doing the trashing, but rather that sinister, criminal 3rd force element...

  • jockvanwyk - 2011-08-11 15:47

    of course they will trash the towns again and no action will be taken to prevent them or arrest them

  • whatno - 2011-08-11 15:56

    Is this refering to Pikitup or cleaners in like hotels etc? My worry is that an increase from R2400 to R4200 seems very unreasonable to me afterall business is about percentages and this one, i dont see it happening.

  • dee-k - 2011-08-11 16:08

    let us be realisitic here, 4200 a month from 2400 a month, where are the organizations supposed to get all that money? they should rather argue for performance appraisal. Wonder how many will actually get it anyway.

  • Boerseun - 2011-08-11 17:11

    They know exactly how to take a country and turn it's economy into a mess! They must bring in a rule that says, "if you strike, your job goes to someone else who needs it".

  • Pieter - 2011-08-11 18:43

    I also want a 75% increase.

  • Aleg - 2011-08-11 21:58

    I respect the strikers right to go on strike, and hope that this one will be peaceful. However, I do hope that the unions will pick up any cleaning/reparation bill for any damage that is caused by the strikers, and not the taxpayer. Something to consider : The garment industry was plagued by strikes, with the result that in the Western Cape the manufacturing factories toppled like dominoes, and now so much of our clothing is imported from China and the Far East. Result: escalating unemployment in our land.

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