Striking Voortrekker Monument employees block entrance with burning tyres

2019-05-02 12:40

Striking employees at the Voortrekker Monument on Thursday blocked its main entrance with burning tyres as they protested over wages. 

From early Thursday morning commuters in the area tweeted pictures and videos of the protesters, reporting heavy traffic delays. 

Sabelo Mhlungu, spokesperson of the Academic Professional Staff Association (APSA), told News24 that its members were striking because of failed wage negotiations.

"We've been negotiating since February," Mhlungu said in front of the monument's main entrance. "We couldn't find each other, so we have no option but to take to the streets." 

Mhlungu said their employer was offering a 6% increase, but that the union's wage proposal was "a package". 

Some of the issues include contributions to the provident fund, as well as bonuses. Mhlungu said employees currently contributed 100% towards their provident funds, and that it wanted the employer to contribute 50%. 

In addition, amounts are deducted from employees' salaries, that are then paid back to them annually as "bonuses". 

"We said to the employer, that can't be correct," Mhlungu said. 

Cecilia Kruger, chief executive of the Voortrekker Monument heritage site, confirmed to Netwerk24 that there was an ongoing wage dispute. 

On Tuesday, the monument's management posted the following message on its Facebook page: "The Voortrekker Monument has received notice of a planned industrial action to take place at the main gate of the heritage site in Eeufees Road from Thursday, 2 May 2019.

"Until further notice, all visitors are advised to use the entrance gate on the R101 to Pretoria (Trichardt Road), as indicated on the map below. This entrance gate will be operational during regular business hours (08:00 to 17:00).

"Please allow for an extra 10 minutes delay in your itineraries."We apologise for the inconvenience. Enjoy your visit and travel safely."

News24's reporter on the scene counted around 40 protesters. 

Tshwane police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba could not be reached for comment. 

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Read more on:    pretoria  |  protests
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