S­hut­do­wn: la­bour is­su­es

Ma­na­ge­ment main­tains that an ex­is­ting si­de agreement pre­vents it from paying wor­kers mo­re.

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - Voorblad - Nic­key le Roux

Se­ver­al la­bour is­su­es ha­ve a­ri­sen du­ring the cur­rent Pe­troSA s­hut­do­wn, with lo­cals clai­ming they are being o­ver­look­ed by con­trac­tors and/or un­der­paid w­hen they are em­ploy­ed.

It al­so seems as if the dis­con­tent is es­ca­la­ting.

On Wed­nes­day, 3 Oc­to­ber, a­bout 300 wor­kers from Siy­ak­ho­na S­caf­fol­ding (Pty) Ltd do­w­ned tools and gat­he­red at the K­waNon­qa­ba Po­li­ce S­ta­ti­on in a pe­a­ce­ful pro­test.

Siy­ak­ho­na S­caf­fol­ding has a long­stan­ding con­tract with Pe­troSA to sup­ply and e­rect s­caf­fol­ding.

For pur­po­ses of the s­hut­do­wn, ma­na­ge­ment re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves said, ad­di­ti­o­nal wor­kers we­re ta­ken on. Ma­na­ge­ment main­tains that an ex­is­ting si­de agreement pre­vents it from paying wor­kers mo­re.

Wor­kers, on the ot­her hand, are of the o­pi­ni­on that the si­de agreement me­re­ly ma­t­ched scaf­fold wor­kers with any ot­her ge­ne­ral wor­ker sa­la­ry sca­le, such as a­nyo­ne who mops floors or was­hes dis­hes, wit­hout any cog­ni­san­ce of the harsh con­di­ti­ons and re­qui­re­ments set for the se­mi-skil­led to skil­led la­bour in­vol­ved in s­caf­fol­ding.

Wor­kers de­mand that their wa­ges should be aug­men­ted by at le­ast 2.3% to 7%. An in­cre­a­se of 2.3%, the le­ast the wor­kers are wil­ling to sett­le for, trans­la­tes to a me­re R5

per hour.

Ma­na­ge­ment of Siy­ak­ho­na S­caf­fol­ding met with the wor­kers, but ac­cor­ding to the wor­kers, their de­mands we­re not met. They will con­ti­nue to stri­ke.

Do not ex­clu­de lo­cals

Last week T­hurs­day, 27 Sep­tem­ber, the I­co­sa pro­vin­ci­al le­a­der, lo­cal coun­cil­lor Da­wid Kam­fer, met with up­set lo­cals at the of­fi­ces of a con­trac­tor that or­ga­ni­ses em­ploy­ment for the s­hut­do­wn.

He al­so spo­ke to re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the con­trac­tors to fa­ci­li­ta­te the in­cre­a­sed em­ploy­ment of lo­cal wor­kers.

Wor­kers claim that pe­op­le flock to Mos­sel Bay in the ho­pe of fin­ding em­ploy­ment du­ring the s­hut­do­wn.

This, they say, re­sults in so­cio-e­co­no­mic pro­blems for the a­rea as in­for­mal sett­le­ments mushroom wit­hout access to mu­ni­ci­pal ser­vi­ces. The de­mand for for­mal hou­sing and mu­ni­ci­pal ser­vi­ces es­ca­la­tes, whi­le all al­ong lo­cals are being o­ver­look­ed.

The man­ner in which the de­mands for mu­ni­ci­pal ser­vi­ces es­ca­la­te is ad­ding to un­due ten­si­on be­t­ween com­mu­ni­ties and e­ven vi­o­len­ce.

'We'll stop the s­hut­do­wn'

Coun­cil­lor Kam­fer said if all el­se fails despi­te their ef­forts to me­di­a­te, I­co­sa will be left with no al­ter­na­ti­ve but to stop the s­hut­do­wn, as it ap­pa­rent­ly has do­ne in the past.

"Con­trac­tors pay lip ser­vi­ce to agreements that lo­cal pe­op­le be em­ploy­ed. Ma­ny of the job see­kers are well qua­li­fied, e­ven through trai­ning con­ducted by Pe­troSA.

"For ma­ny of the job op­por­tu­ni­ties no spe­ci­al qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons are ne­ces­sa­ry. T­he­re is no need to ap­point a cle­a­ner all the way from Jo­han­nes­burg, yet our pe­op­le are o­ver­look­ed.

"Mos­sel Bay's pe­op­le can­not go wit­hout work whi­le pe­op­le from out­si­de the a­rea be­ne­fit from s­hut­do­wn jobs.

"I­co­sa sup­ports the lo­cal work­for­ce and will stop the s­hut­do­wn if our de­mands that Mos­sel Bay pe­op­le be­ne­fit from job op­por­tu­ni­ties are not met," Coun­cil­lor Kam­fer in­sis­ted.

Pic­ket on Tu­es­day

This fol­lo­wed a pic­ket on Tu­es­day, 25 Sep­tem­ber by sup­por­ters of the In­de­pen­dent Wor­kers' Ad­vi­ce Cen­t­re on Lou­is Fou­rie Ro­ad in A­sla Park.

The pe­a­ce­ful and le­gal pic­ke­ting was or­ga­ni­sed by Fai­zel Por­ter, the foun­der and ma­na­ger of the In­de­pen­dent Wor­kers' Ad­vi­ce Cen­t­re in sup­port of "wor­kers who are ad­ver­se­ly af­fected in ten­der con­tract ir­re­gu­la­ri­ties at Pe­troSA in­vol­ving Fee­dem Pits­eng".

Por­ter said wor­kers, es­pe­ci­al­ly ste­wards wor­king for the ca­te­ring com­pa­ny Fee­dem Pits­eng at the Pe­troSA FA Plat­form, had their in­co­me s­las­hed u­ni­la­te­ral­ly, and despi­te all ef­forts we­re not a­ble to ha­ve the mat­ter sett­led a­mi­ca­bly.

The pic­ket las­ted for ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly two hours.

P­ho­to: Nic­key le Roux

So­me wor­kers say their job re­qui­res skill and qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons and their wa­ges should be ad­jus­ted ac­cor­dingly. INSET: Wor­kers con­trac­ted by Siy­ak­ho­na S­caf­fol­ding (Pty) Ltd are de­man­ding a mar­gi­nal in­cre­a­se in their wa­ges due to the Pe­troSA s­hut­do­wn that com­men­ced this month.

P­ho­tos: Nic­key le Roux

The pro­vin­ci­al le­a­der of I­co­sa, Coun­cil­lor Da­wid Kam­fer (fifth from left), ad­dres­sed u­nem­ploy­ed pe­op­le who clai­med Mos­sel Bay re­si­dents we­re ex­clu­ded from jobs in the cur­rent Pe­troSA s­hut­do­wn.

Wor­kers gat­he­red pe­a­ce­ful­ly as they wai­ted for their ma­na­gers to ad­dress them.

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