Footwear unions call for sus­pen­sion of al­leged shooter

Cape Times - - NEWS - Raphael Wolf

STRIK­ING unions in the footwear in­dus­try have called for the im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of a fac­tory staff mem­ber who they al­leged opened fire at protest­ing leather sec­tor work­ers strik­ing out­side a Port El­iz­a­beth fac­tory yes­ter­day.

The Tex­tile Work­ers’ Union (Sactwu) and the Na­tional Union of Leather Work­ers (Nu­law) said they would open crim­i­nal charges fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s in­ci­dent. The unions have been on a na­tion­wide strike since Mon­day af­ter failed wage ne­go­ti­a­tions with the SA Footwear and Leather In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion.

The work­ers de­manded a 9.5% in­crease, while the em­ploy­ers were only of­fer­ing 6.25%.

Yes­ter­day, Sactwu and Nu­law said they had writ­ten to the Bagshaw Footwear fac­tory’s hu­man re­source de­part­ment de­mand­ing the im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of the al­leged shooter.

“These work­ers have been on a legally pro­tected wage strike since Mon­day in pur­suit of their liv­ing wage de­mands. Close to 10 000 footwear work­ers na­tion­ally have now joined the strike.”

The unions said they re­garded the staff mem­ber’s al­leged ac­tions as il­le­gal, provoca­tive and not con­ducive to the pro­mo­tion of sound in­dus­trial re­la­tions. “It has placed the lives of our mem­bers in se­ri­ous dan­ger. This type of dis­gust­ing con­duct is not ac­cept­able to us.

“We will not al­low our strik­ing mem­bers to be in­tim­i­dated in this, or any other man­ner and will in­ten­sify our strike ac­tion.”

When the Cape Times con­tacted the fac­tory’s man­age­ment for a com­ment, a se­cu­rity guard who an­swered the tele­phone and iden­ti­fied him­self as “Ken­neth” said: “The fac­tory has shut down to­day. There was a big strike (at the fac­tory) and there is no one here.”

Sactwu gen­eral sec­re­tary An­dre Kriel said: “We are pleased with the mo­men­tum… For all in­tents and pur­poses, the footwear man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try has now been com­pletely shut down in the West­ern Cape and all other parts of the coun­try”.

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