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Strike in South Africa - Matière et Révolution
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Home page > 08- LUTTE DES CLASSES - CLASS STRUGGLE > Strike in South Africa

Strike in South Africa

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Strikers arrested

The bosses are responsible of violences !

Not the workers !!!

Mediation for salaries for ABI workers was delayed after the arrest of 38 striking workers at the company’s Midrand depot on Tuesday.

"Members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) violated the interdict which the company had received to ensure the safety and security of employees and they provoked and accosted police who were then forced to retaliate," ABI said in a statement.

ABI (Amalgamated Beverage IndustriesI) is SA Breweries’ soft drink division.

"About 35 of them were taken into custody after an outbreak of violence and will appear in court on Wednesday."

There is no evidence that striking ABI workers were involved in the bombing of two non-striking workers’ vehicles, the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) said on Tuesday.

"As far as we know, our members were not involved in any wrongdoing. But as soon as we have evidence presented to us, steps will be taken to bring those members involved to book," said Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola.

Private cars belonging to non-striking workers were reportedly petrol-bombed by disgruntled Fawu members. As a result, one victim living in Atteridgeville in Pretoria lost his entire garage.

Fawu’s general secretary Katishi Masemola — currently at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Johannesburg where mediation with the employer was set to take place — confirmed Tuesday morning’s arrests. However he denied that union members were being violent in any way.

"Our members were picketing outside the depot as usual when they were asked by police to disperse around 11.30am. Police then used teargas to disperse them and in the process arrested some who refused to hand themselves over. Several others were injured in the process," said Masemola.

"We condemn the fact that police arrested people who were peacefully gathering. There was no threat of violence or act. They just said our members were in contempt of court interdicts."

Masemola said talks on salaries had not started by 3.30pm because the union and management had to discuss issues surrounding the incident at the Midrand depot.

Union members had started gathering outside the CCMA offices by 3pm.

Disgruntled ABI workers went on strike on 22 December demanding a 9.5 percent wage increase against the employer’s offer of 8.3 percent.

They also wanted better working conditions and an end to labour brokers.

ABI said Fawu members were continuing with largely peaceful protests at several other ABI depots across the country and were provided with food and refreshments.

"ABI has repeatedly indicated that it believes in the right of employees to strike, but that it strongly condemns all forms of violence. ABI will continue meeting with strikers as and when required," the company said.

Violent acts, allegedly committed by Fawu members, have been reported since the strike started on 22 December.

These include the petrol bombing of delivery vehicles, assaults on non-striking workers, anonymous intimidatory calls to employees’ families and the stoning of ABI and vehicles belonging to employees.

Management was granted legal protection by the courts but later called in the CCMA to try to ensure that union members adhere to the strike rules and stop violence and intimidation.

The union had indicated that the strike would continue indefinitely, should there be no agreement reached by Wednesday.

Although some Fawu members were arrested earlier on Tuesday, others joined striking farm workers at Plantation Farm on the East Rand, as part of boosting their morale and pledging solidarity.

Masemola said the picketing went peacefully and that the number swelled to 420.

There were about 70 farm workers picketing on a daily basis, he said.

These farm workers had been on strike since the start of December over a demand for a wage increment of eight percent.

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