Wednesday, July 27, 2011

South African Unions Add Fire to the Fuel Strike

Unions add fire to the fuel strike


Unions leading the strike in the chemical and fuel sector have vowed to continue with industrial action until their demands are met -- despite many workers and fellow union Solidarity withdrawing their support.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) and General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) staged a march outside the offices of Shell in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Wednesday, brandishing placards promising no end to the fuel strike.

“Comrades, we own these streets today. In as much as the greedy capitalists own production, we will own the streets,” Giwusa president Charles Phaahla told cheering protesters.

Trade union Solidarity withdrew their support for the strike in the first week after only two days of participation. And, according to employers, thousands of workers have returned to their posts, even though they are affiliated to unions still on strike.

William Hendriks, a fuel worker in Alrode says he and other workers will fight until the wage demands are realised.

“We are fighting for what we deserve -- they can afford these wages; they are lying,” said Hendriks.

Ceppwawu member Ayanda Sithole echoed Hendriks's sentiments, vowing to drag the strike on as long as it takes.

“We don’t care if it takes eight weeks -- they must give us our money. They can afford to give themselves R10-million bonuses why can’t they afford our salaries? They spend the amount we earn on expensive cigars and booze,” Sithole.

Hendriks did not have kind words for workers who had already returned to their posts.

“They are stupid, if they don’t want to fight for their rights then they must accept their fate,” Hendriks said.

“Our government that we voted for is leaving us out in the cold -- that makes us very angry,” Sithole said.

No comments: