Workers kill business owner's pet parrot during plastics industry strike

Ted, a Macaw parrot, killed during an attack on a plastic factory in Elandsfontein. (Supplied)
Ted, a Macaw parrot, killed during an attack on a plastic factory in Elandsfontein. (Supplied)

"He was the most beautiful Macaw parrot."

These were the words of Gauteng business owner Trevor Zulberg after his pet parrot Ted, was killed during the plastics industry strike.

Vandalism and acts of violence have been a hallmark of many industrial strikes in recent years, and people and property often bear the brunt of the protesters' anger.

But Zulberg's loss is something CEOs affected by the strike will not be able to identify with.

When striking workers, believed to be employed in the plastics industry, attacked Ampa Plastics Group on Friday, smashing windows, stealing computers and attacking the managing director, they also targeted Ted.

Read: Thousands of plastic sector employees get permission to strike

Zulberg, the chief executive of the Elandsfontein business, said bricks were used to attack both his MD and his parrot.

He added that the attackers – who he claimed were affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) - also tried to set the factory alight. However, they extinguished the flames.

"There must have been around a hundred guys. They came in and started destroying everything in their way, poured petrol in some parts of the factory and set it alight," he said.

Zulberg said his company and employees whose vehicles were targeted, incurred damages amounting to hundreds of thousands of rands.

Numsa has recently resolved to go ahead with the industry strike until "workers' demands are met".

The union's position was strengthened after the Labour Court ruled that the strike was legal.

Read more: Win for Numsa at Labour Court over plastics strike

Numsa has rejected the allegations levelled against its members.

"Those who make such claims do so without any proof to back it up. We urge anyone claiming to have information on criminal activity to open a case at [the SA Police Service] because it is their job to investigate such incidents and to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice," Numsa's spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said when approached for comment.

"Mewusa (the Metal and Electrical Workers Union of South Africa) is also on strike. How can they be so sure that Numsa is responsible?" she asked.

Police said a case was opened at the Bedfordview police station.

"I can confirm the incident case of public violence has been registered. No arrests have been made," police spokesman Andre de Jager said.

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