Strike continues in Boksburg
13 July 2011 | Carmen Norton
The strike of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is intensifying since the addition of two more union strikes.
The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) and General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) have joined Numsa in their strike for better pay.
Numsa workers downed tools on July 4 with Ceppwawu and Giwusa joining in on July 11.
Workers are demanding an 11 to 13 per cent wage increase with a minimum wage of R6 000 per month.
They also want a 40 hour working week as well as fully paid maternity leave for six months.
Striking workers were especially active in Jet Park, with several big companies affected by the protests being on high alert, having to employ emergency measures to send workers home early or to ask them not to come into work to keep them safe.
Derek Brown, from a Boksburg company, said that on July 5 strikers tried to break down their company's gate.
"They told us that the only way our employees would be able to leave the premises safely was if they left with the strikers," said Brown.
He added that they told strikers that their employees were not there and later took them to Benoni where they were dropped off safely.
"We have had to tell our workers not to come in until the strike is over, purely for their safety."
Brown added that they are targeting companies where there are people still working.
According to Philamon Shvumba from Numsa, they are currently in negotiations.
"Numsa did not encourage the other unions to join in on the strike as they were part of the initial decision to strike," he said.
"They were not able to join in on the strike the day we started but rather a week later."
John Apollis, spokesperson for Ceppwawu, said that the strike is intensifying.
"At the present moment we have not heard anything on how the negotiations are going."
Edson Ntsidande, spokesperson for Giwusa, also said that the strike has intensified.
The Advertiser went to various petrol stations in Boksburg where the overall census was that stations would not last the week as they were running low on petrol.
Workers from a petrol station on North Rand Road said that other petrol stations had gone to them to get diesel as they had none.
A petrol attendant from another petrol station in Boksburg, who wishes to stay anonymous, said that they had enough petrol to last them maybe four to five days.